Many academics use social media platforms for professional interactions where they can share their work, interact with others in their field, and discussing hot topics.
A general rule of thumb is to keep your professional and personal profiles separate, though having a combined personal/professional profile is becoming more common. Creating a profile on these sites is generally free, though some, like LinkedIn offer paid upgrades for a fee. When creating a merged profile remember the audience you are trying to reach.
The link below is to specific style and branding guidelines for use with social media.
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 other users that they specifically want to see the post.
LinkedIn is an online social network that is geared specifically towardsprofessionals and businesses. 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 a friend of a friend or work in the same or similar industry.
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 from whom they want to see future content..