How to Use Social Media as a Learning Tool

In today's fast-paced world, it's critical to keep your skills sharp in order to remain competitive in the workplace. Learn how to proactively manage your career by leveraging social media as a learning tool.

Social media in the Human Age has evolved into much more than anyone first imagined. It’s not just a place for people to have online conversations or share pictures of their family. Now, every social platform specializes in unique ways for people to connect, network and learn. 
 
For example, Twitter has emerged as one of the world’s leading news sources, where people can instantly share and consume news in real-time. LinkedIn is changing how people think about networking for business, sharing ideas and conducting business. YouTube now shares so much of the world's knowledge and information, one might suggest that it’s this age’s Library of Alexandria. And this list goes on and on. 
 
Far more than a distraction, social media has become an incredibly powerful learning tool that enables people to interact, collaborate and form communities on a global scale. People share ideas, data, news, and countless educational sources and materials. Universities, research labs, think tanks and specialists across all fields and disciplines are communicating with the world at large.   It’s the very nature of this virtual social world that makes it such a valuable resource for learning and education.
 
If you’re not already, consider the following suggestions to use social media in learning. 
 
LinkedIn 
 
The social media platform designed specifically for business professional profiles, LinkedIn is far more than just a virtual space to post your resume. LinkedIn continually strengthens its position as the go-to destination where business professionals consume content. Experts in nearly all fields and industries post very high-quality educational content. If you’re searching for the latest business news, updates from industry experts and advice on how to manage your career, LinkedIn is your one-stop-shop. 
 
Twitter 
 
At first, no one was really sure what Twitter was or what it could be used for. Launched in 2006, Twitter has since become a premier learning tool, news source and online information feed on just about any topic you can imagine. Most experts in your—or any other—field have a Twitter account who feeds represent their industries, passions, and interests. Scientists, marketers, CEO’s, leadership coaches, financial experts, musicians, comedians, and journalists. Find professional experts in your field by searching for related hashtags (get started with: #careeradvice, #careersmatter and #jobtips) that are associated with your interests. 
 
YouTube
 
Chances are if you’ve ever used YouTube, you’ve already come across at least one educational/instructional video. From a professional development standpoint, you can find videos on everything from how to prepare for an interview to how to tie a tie (to wear to the interview)! Virtually any topic—including class lectures from top universities—are freely shared and available to anyone with internet access. We especially love the Harvard Business Review's videos about Leadership and Managing People. 
 
Pinterest 
 
Pinterest began as a social bookmarking tool for online images—now it’s a powerful content curation tool. Featuring informative content around any topic (this includes advice on how to develop your professional skills) - Pinterest is a great way to sort through content other users have pinned (or recommended). For example, a quick search for "career management" will serve up helpful articles and infographics covering topics like "time management habits of successful women" and "tips for the first-time manager."  
 
Communication, social interaction and our ability to learn are foundational to our ongoing success as professionals. Now that technology has enabled us, it’s no surprise that one of the greatest modern evolutions is firmly rooted in something so innate to us as social communication.
 
Go ahead. Explore and learn and grow. It’s what we’ve always been meant to do.
 
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Related Articles: 
Using Social Media to Find a New Job
How to Decide What to Share on Social Media
How to Easily Find and Share Great Content on Social Media

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