How to Use Social Media for Your Education

Social media isn't just for fun and keeping up with friends - your favorite platforms can help you further your education.
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Social media isn't just for fun and keeping up with friends - your favorite platforms can help you further your education.
How to use social media for education - Social media doodles

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Let's face it, most of us already spend hours on end clicking between the Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest tabs on our web browsers. In this day and age, it seems like social media consumes our daily lives. Since we already dedicate so much attention to these sites, it's high time that we make our surfing useful and productive.

More and more colleges are expanding their social media presence every day, and -- as students -- it's important to take advantage and use social media to further your education. If you're lucky like me, you might attend one of the schools graded by PC Mag as having an "A+ In Social Media". (Just another reason why us Badgers are the best!)

Even if your university doesn't have a well-established online presence, you can still benefit from the tools you already have to further your eduction. Whatever the situation, here's how to get the most out of social media in college:

1. Facebook

Most college students know Facebook like the back of their hands. We have all spent plenty of time learning the ins and outs of our top-visited page, but there's so much more that Facebook can be used for in regards to your education.

First, look for groups pertaining to your field of study or extracurriculars, and use these to connect with like-minded students.

Similarly, consider creating an "event" to get the word out about a project or look for support on a tricky assignment. You can make these as public as you would like, so it's a very helpful way to access a wide variety of fellow students.

Also, check out pages that belong to departments at your university, companies you're be interested in working for, or academic services that you might want to use. "Like" these pages, then make sure to select them as favorites so they show up on your Newsfeed. This way, you will be one of the first to see any relevant information that could lead you things like an interesting workshop on campus or perhaps even a dream internship at your favorite company!

2. Twitter

Today, many professors use Twitter as an easy way to communicate with their students. Many profs have even started adding their Twitter handle to class syllabi! However, even if your professor hasn't offered Twitter as a mode of communication, it can still be helpful in an academic setting.

For example, do a quick search for "#yourclassname." This could be a great opportunity to chat with other students about assignments or other information from class.

Also, check if your university, your specific academic department, or even your athletic team has its own page. This is an excellent way to stay up-to-date about future events, opportunities within your field of study, and just general information about campus life. Look for specific hashtags, such as "#internships" or "#WisconsinUnion," to quickly find the exact details that you need to know.

Finally, don't forget that this platform is a great way to reach out to potential employers, since many companies have Twitter accounts. Follow those that interest you to stay updated on potential internship or employment opportunities.

In addition, consider making use of the "140 character resume." It's a fairly new idea of posting a Tweet that very briefly (read: in 140 characters!) describes your most marketable qualities. Use the hashtag "#hireme," and see what opportunities appear. It may sound a little crazy, but social media is slowly building its presence in the job market. Give it a shot, you never know what could happen!

(FYI, here's mine: "Need Money. Desperate. Really desperate. Must shop. Want clothes. Shoes. Handbags. Please. #Hireme" .... Though you may want to take a different route if you're serious about getting hired.)

3. Pinterest

A couple of weeks ago, our Hautelinks post featured a link to the most innovative uses of Pinterest. As this article shows, Pinterest is good for so much more than just compiling adorable baby animal photos (though I recommend doing this as well). You've probably never thought about Pinterest as a very helpful educational tool -- but it can be!

Search for boards like "Study Tips" to give you strategies to make your studying more effective. Or, look for a "Surviving Final Exams" board, just to keep your spirits high during the most dreaded week of the semester.

You can also use Pinterest to create "study boards," which can be very helpful if you have an exam that requires memorization. Visuals are an excellent way to remember important facts, especially if you're a right brain learner like me. Search for photos that apply to the topic you are learning, then save them to the board, making sure to change the caption to whatever relevant information you need. Once you have assembled the entire board, the visuals will be presented on one simple, organized page. Simply scrolling through a few times a day can help to ingrain those images in your head, possibly leading to higher exam scores!

4. Classroom blogs

Many professors have also established blogs for their classes. Obviously, the use of this type of social media is somewhat up to the discretion of your professor (i.e. you will probably have specific assignments that you are directed to post on the blog). However, if you do have some freedom with the blog, be creative and intelligent with the way you use it.

If you are confused with material from the course, post your questions. Oftentimes, your peers will be able to offer a more immediate, clear, and relatable answer than what you might receive from your professor. Or, post some open-ended questions prior to class, which can spark the conversation before you even set foot in the classroom.

A blog is also an easy way to share webpage links, articles, videos, or other pertinent material. Your classmates will easily be able to access the information, and then you can reference the material in class without wondering whether or not your peers understand what you are describing.

Your Thoughts?

Of course, these are just a few of the ways to use the most popular social media sites. With thousands of websites and platforms at our disposal, there are countless ways to utilize these tools. Do you have a certain way to use Facebook, Twitter, or any of these other sites to benefit your studies?Let us know in the comments section!