There are a variety of platforms available for use on your computer or as an app on your smart phone/tablet, and they are often used by a combination of professional and personal users. A general rule of thumb is to keep your professional and personal profiles separate. Creating a profile on these sites is generally free, though some like LinkedIn offer paid upgrades for a monthly/weekly/annual fee.
This guide will provide some information about the most popular platforms currently available.
To see the social media sites for UNLV departments and groups on campus, visit UNLV's Social Media Directory!
Twitter is a free messaging site that allows users to exchange messages in short, 280 character posts. Users often use hashtags (#tag) to tag their posts so other users with similar interests can find them. Posts, or tweets, can also include photos, videos, GIFs (short, looped, moving images), links to webpages, and users can mention ("tag") other users that they specifically want to see the post.
A major part of Twitter is user interaction with one another. To interact, users can Retweet (RT, essentially like forwarding an email where you can share another user's tweet with your followers), favorite or "like" a tweet, or comment/reply to a tweet and add your own thoughts to the conversation. You can also "at" or "@" another user by typing the @ symbol and their Twitter username in a post. An example tweet from University Libraries Dean Maggie Farrell is below:
Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites currently in use, and in fact, it is likely you already have a personal profile. Facebook users can add "friends", which are connections that can be personal or professional, and share all sorts of content within that private network or with the larger public.
If you decide to create a professional Facebook profile, you can join or create groups that provide benefits such as asking for help on a project or problem, searching for collaborators, offering advice to colleagues and more.
Below are some additional resources to help you create a successful professional profile.
LinkedIn is an online social network that is geared specifically towards professionals and business. This platform is used to post jobs, promote projects, awards, and posting short articles to develop a professional reputation and build professional networks.
Users can follow prominent leaders in their field, follow topics that interest them (e.g. Accounting, Business, etc.), connect with other professionals they know and reach out to other connections that are "2nd" (friend of a friend) or "3rd" level (works in the same or similar industry).
Each user profile has the user's work history, projects, publications, associations they are members of, organizations they support, and more. Its very similar to a CV, but can be much more robust with interactive links and other media, including information about awards or other honors that the user has received in the past. Users can even write short articles to share with their network of connections.
LinkedIn is also unique from other social media platforms in that it offers at paid version with additional features that some may find useful called LinkedIn Premium. There are pros and cons to using this service, but some features can be useful when job searching.
YouTube is a video hosting platform, owned by Google, that allows creators to make and post videos for the general public. There isn't as much of a social networking aspect to this platform, but many businesses and academic institutions use its services to post videos for use in online tutorials, or in the classroom. Users can "Like" or "Dislike" videos and add comments, as well as follow or "Subscribe" to creators that they want to see future content from.
An account on this platform is generally connected with your Google user account, and you may be automatically signed into it depending on your Google account settings. It is a good idea to verify which Google account you are logged into (particularly if you have more than one professional or personal account) before uploading any content to this platform.
Search for prominent members of your field, member associations, or interest groups that post content that is relevant or interesting to you. Look to see who those people follow. Bookmark hash tags or groups that match your interests so you can keep on top of new discussions. Locate colleagues that you have worked with, currently work with, or want to work with and establish those online connections.
UNLV is involved in many of the popular social media platforms. Several Colleges and Departments on campus also have their own social media accounts that are managed internally, including the University Libraries. UNLV has a directory of many of these accounts, which you can check out by clicking this link. Below are UNLV and the University Libraries social media accounts for you to get started!