In this age of digital communication and 140-word tweets, it can be difficult to view social media as anything more than a complex form of entertainment. It’s a great way to spread information, but the information most of us tend to take in and receive via social media is accurate, at best, and often not very in-depth. However, while online students may think twice about using social media in their academic careers for this reason, the reality is that social media can be an extraordinarily powerful vehicle for students to connect, share, and work together. As with anything else, along with the good also comes the bad, and, as far as social media in academics is concerned, you could make a very strong case that the benefits vastly outweigh any potential negatives.
But, how do you know exactly how to use each social media profile in the right way? Is it better to post questions on Facebook or Twitter? Should you include your course information on your Facebook profile, or is that TMI? Here, are a few ways to structure your use of the two biggest social media outlets, Twitter and Facebook, in an academic context, so you will not only be more informed, but better connected throughout your time in college:
Facebook is the perfect outlet to disseminate information about yourself. It is designed with intricate profile options, allowing users to input almost every aspect of their daily lives, from where they are eating, to their favorite movies, to what classes they are taking next fall. Because of this, Facebook is the best location to place all those details that you want people to know about you, but may not be appropriate in any other platform. This is the best place to get started with connections. Become members of groups hosted by your school, and look for students who are taking the same classes as you. Or, use your class roster to send friend requests to your classmates. From here, you will be able to find email information and Twitter handles. Aside from using Facebook as your jumping-off point for connections, you can also use it to post questions and conversation topics that require more in-depth conversation and thought. Any class questions that require a long answer is Facebook material. Facebook is also an excellent place to post full essays and long answers, or copies of study guides, for other students easily access.
Twitter is a platform that moves much more quickly than Facebook. In an academic context, Twitter is best used to receive and disseminate immediate information about your classes or academic life. If your homework assignment has just been changed, let your fellow classmates know by tweeting them. You can also use Twitter to pay attention to what other students are doing in real-time. If you have a test coming up for one of your online classes, pay particular attention to your classmates’ tweets, just to see if they are letting people in on study tips or memorization tricks. If anyone is publicly organizing a study group and the location has changed, Twitter is the best space to let everyone know. You can also contact classmates more quickly via Twitter than Facebook, in many cases. Direct message a classmate you need to contact immediately, or tweet them directly if you want to ask or answer a question. Basically, Twitter is for fast, real-time communication. If you use it accordingly, it can be an outstanding academic tool.
Author info: Caroline Ross is a former educator who writes for Accreditedonlineuniversities.com. She is an avid reader and advocate for global education and equality. Please submit any comments or feedback in the section below!