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Introduction to Social Media: Multimedia

These pages are intended to support academic staff interested in the use of social media to develop a professional online research presence and consider the issues inherent in working in such an open manner online.

Art and Design

Websites such as DeviantART and Tumblr are used as a means of sharing visual graphics. Generally DeviantART is used by artists to showcase and sell art they have created themselves; Tumblr is more a means of sharing and disseminating work created by others.


Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow users to upload and share videos publicly. Others can watch the videos, comment on them, share them with other users and embed them on their own websites and blogs. Many major news networks and political organisations have 'channels' on YouTube, like the BBC, CNN, The White House etc. There is also a large amount of academic and educational content available as well.

Presentation sharing

Sites such as Prezi and SlideShare are useful tools to share presentations via the internet.

Prezi is a web-based presentation creation software designed as a much more interactive alternative to PowerPoint, where you can create 'slides' within slides, zoom in and out, rotate etc. SlideShare is a means of sharing the more traditional PowerPoint presentation, by uploading to the site and them embedding your presentation within websites etc.


There are numerous photo-sharing sites online, such as Flickr and Picasa. Most use tagging systems so you can organise your work photos and find other similar photos. You can also add notes, and choose options to make your photos private, public or shared with specific named users.

Flickr also works with Creative Commons, so users can specify particular licences under which their work can be used or distributed.


Livestreaming is the transmission of footage of a live event over the internet. Users can then watch on their computer through media player software.

Most major television channels will livestream footage via their own in-house media software, such as BBC iPlayer or ITV Player. YouTube is also being increasingly used for this - as was demonstrated recently with Felix Baumgartner's skydive from the edge of space being streamed live in YouTube.

Virtual worlds

A virtual world is an online community created via a computer simulated environment, through which users can communicate with one another and 'interact' virtually via online avatars or personas. Most virtual worlds are used for entertainment purposes as role-playing games, but an educational element does run through many worlds, such as Second Life, where many universities and libraries have a virtual presence and often run virtual classes or lectures via lecturers' avatars.