Social media is an ideal way to meet people or build relationships with those you already know, but did you realize it could be a valuable learning tool as well?
Think about it. In addition to being entertained and inspired, you can also get information about interesting topics through stories your friends/connections might post, whether they’re from media outlets or a how-to video.
Here are some ways you can use social media to learn, whether it’s for your classwork or a topic that interests you.
Facebook connects people through posts, photos, videos, pages and groups, and almost all of these features can be used for studying and learning. Here are some ideas on how you can learn while scrolling through your Facebook feed:
- Pages are created by companies or organizations looking to spread the word about their cause or product. If you have something you’d like to learn more about (nursing, business, etc.), follow pages associated with it and the information may populate your social feed. Even better, you can direct message (DM) them with questions you may have.
- The groups feature on Facebook has exploded in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. You can easily find niche groups and people interested in the same topics you are. Try looking into Facebook groups specifically devoted to studying in your area of expertise. These groups allow you to communicate with others, ask questions, read others’ questions and responses, and so much more. Be sure to do your research since some groups, such as nursing groups, can be huge!
- Adding friends on Facebook is one of the most basic features of the platform, and it comes in handy when connecting with your classmates and peers. It’s an easy way to ask them questions or discuss assignments, especially if you haven’t yet exchanged phone numbers.
- You can use Facebook Messenger to stay in touch via private messages. You can even create one large message thread with several or all of your classmates for collaborative discussions and to plan study groups. In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, you could use the video chat feature within Messenger to organize study groups between classmates while staying socially distanced.
Twitter is a straightforward platform that features a newsfeed with short status updates from people and accounts that you follow. It emphasizes what’s going on right now and allows users to quickly find breaking news and trending topics. The platform also features a “For you” feed that is customized based on your Twitter interactions and interests.
There are many accounts dedicated to helping people prepare for and learn for exams like the NCLEX for nurses – make sure to follow them so they pop up in your feed. One of the fastest ways to find relevant tweets and accounts on Twitter is by searching for popular hashtags. For example, try searching #NCLEX, #InterviewPrep, #StudyTips and whatever else you may find helpful.
Be sure to follow companies and organizations that are in the same industry you’d like to learn about, as they often share career opportunities, blog posts and other helpful content about their industry. As an example, take a look at the Herzing University Twitter account @HerzUniv.
If you’re a visual learner, then Instagram might be the place for you. Follow accounts that cover what you’d like to learn more about. Take advantage of Instagram’s unique features, such as:
- Similar to Twitter, following hashtags adds appropriately tagged posts to your feed. For learning purposes, we recommend searching for topics related to your college program and career field. Examples include #RegisteredNurse, #DentalHygieneSchool and #StudyMotivation among millions more.
- Study-Oriented Accounts
- There’s a variety of accounts devoted to sharing educational tips for college students, such as @nursingandnclexmastery, @motivation2.study, etc. Like Facebook and Twitter, try following organizations that are in your industry as well.
- Instagram now hosts long-form videos in the format of IGTV, which is built right into the app. There are many educational videos from professionals, businesses, organizations and others that break down complex topics and provide visual cues that can help you retain information.
- Instagram debuted this new feature earlier this year, and it works similarly to TikTok in that it displays short-form video content. There are a few study-oriented accounts already out there, and likely many more to come – be sure to keep your eye on this feature as it grows.
- Like Twitter and Facebook, connect with friends so you can DM them with questions you may have if you share a class.
Pinterest is a creative platform that allows users to save and share ideas related to almost anything, including recipes, workouts and professional advice. Many people use it to find information on learning styles, how to study more effectively, take notes efficiently and find links to informative blog posts.
Pinterest lets you categorize your saved items in the form of boards, similar to digital bookmarks and folders so that you can easily find them again. Consider building boards for study tips, career advice, specific courses, and so on. Whenever you find helpful content, “pin” it to the appropriate board and revisit it once you’re ready.
YouTube hosts learning channels for nearly any topic you’d like. You can do one-off searches for specific videos or you can subscribe to channels that regularly publish insightful content. There are millions of educational videos to discover from engaging content creators and thought leaders who can teach you new and different ways to study and think about topics like business, nursing, law enforcement and so much more.
You can even use YouTube to learn about daily life in a job you’re studying. There are many vloggers and others who share their experiences as nurses, IT managers and more. Don’t forget to take advantage of the playlist feature on most channels, which will allow you to autoplay videos if you’re multitasking.
TikTok is a social media platform that has taken the world by storm. It’s easy to get lost in its endless feed of funny and unique content, but did you know there are also educational videos on the platform?
To find them, search for things you’re looking to learn about. There seem to be many nurses on TikTok, as well as lawyers and mental healthcare workers, for example. Try browsing hashtags like #studytips, #nursingschoolhacks and more.
One of the most useful features of TikTok is that the platform measures what content you engage with and customizes your “For you” feed to pull in videos you’re interested in. If you like, comment or share a few videos that are study-oriented, more will eventually appear in your feed. The same goes for nursing, business, information, college tips, and more.
Known as a vital platform for job searching, LinkedIn also provides many opportunities to learn about a profession or company. For example:
- Individual and company posts
- When you connect with a person or company, you can learn more about them by what they post. Companies will share their thought leadership on key industry topics and show why they’re a great place to work. If you connect with people who are active in the business world or a particular industry, they’ll likely share helpful information as well, and it will show up in your news feed. You can also follow famous business leaders and creative thinkers like Bill Gates, Shaun Robinson and LeVar Burton.
- There are many LinkedIn groups for a variety of interests and professions. Some are private while others are open to everyone.
- On the top right corner of your LinkedIn webpage, you’ll see “Today’s news and views,” which gives you an overview of top trending business stories.
- You can search with hashtags and also by topic – for example, search “nursing” under “content” and you’ll find posts from a variety of LinkedIn users, whether you’re connected to them or not.
- Wondering what it takes to get a job in your chosen profession? Search through the “jobs” tab and see what’s available. That will help you prepare for future applications and interviews.
Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world and hosts a massive collection of online forums, each dedicated to just about any topic or interest you can think of. You can follow subreddits for the news, art, jokes, video games, niche communities and more. There’s also a wide variety of study-oriented subreddits such as r/StudentNurse, r/nursing, r/GetStudying, r/ITCareerQuestions and more.
Reddit is what you decide to make it – consider making an account that only follows subreddits related to your field. This could help keep you from getting distracted by other content when you log in.
Yes, you can consider Spotify a social media platform since you can connect with friends and share information, and we included it in this list to remind you that certain types of music have been shown to increase study retention. There’s no shortage of playlists, including those featuring only instrumentals, to help you out. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out some podcasts – there’s many to sift through, but searching for keywords related to your studies and career field will help you find what you’re looking for. If you find something helpful, why not share it with your classmates?
While the above list is certainly not all-encompassing – social media changes fast – we hope you find that these tools help you understand, retain and apply the information in your studies and work, no matter your learning style!