Ever wondered how you can turn your social media habits to a knowledgeable space? Through this article, I intend to break your mental blocks regarding the uses of social media and assist you in discovering its multifaceted roles in your education and career planning. Now, you must be wondering how social media can help you explore plausible career opportunities and decide an appropriate course of action for a successful career.

While keeping in mind the inherent risks involved in social media, it is equally important to be familiar with the plethora of potential benefits that social media offers in order to attain your educational objectives. Social media redefines the way we relate to other humans and to the organizations with which we are affiliated. It is dialogical a two-way communication that brings people together to discover and share information, build networks and enhance professional development.  

Social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, iBibo, Hi5, Myspace, etc. are not only a platform for meeting new people and getting in touch with old friends but it is also a common dais for sharing and exchanging information, knowledge, and creativity with concurring individuals. Social media fosters deeper learning experiences, promote collaboration, and provide timely feedback. A few ways have been listed below which can help you explore the new dimensions of learning and career planning with the help of innovative activities on social media:  

  • Discussion Forums: You can create study groups on sites like Google+, Facebook, etc. in order to initiate discussions about specific subjects. Members of the group can post links, media, queries, editable documents, events, and can comment on the posts too. You can invite students from various schools to be a member of your groups as it will augment informative and qualitative aspects of the trending discussions.

    Request your teachers and seniors to monitor the authenticity and appropriateness of the content, and answer the queries posted on the study groups. Learning in collaboration with your peers and teachers will enable you to build better school communities. Moreover, it is fun too!
  • Class Blogs: If you are fond of blogging, create your own class blogs on sites like edublogs, weebly, kidsblog etc. Blogs are a form of an online journal with one or several authors that encourage creative writing, improve grammar skills and enhance your knowledge about various subjects. You can also import study relevant blogs from Blogger, LiveJournal, and other blogging services to your individual profiles or study groups.
  • Expand your circle of knowledge: Sharing knowledge (or study material!) with others help you expand your knowledge horizon. You can help each other with homework and research by sharing documents, study material, assignments, and notes on sites like dropbox, scribd, icloud etc. Slideshare is the world’s largest community for sharing online presentations. You can also tag your friends in Facebook notes to share relevant information and embed images about specific educational topics and career information.
  • Nailing down the competitive exams: Preparation for competitive exams may elicit anxiety and stress. However, joining groups related to specific competitive/entrance exams like SSC, IAS, AIEEE, JEE, CLAT, NET, CTET, NCHMCT, NIFT and many more, wherein individuals discuss queries, share their experiences and other relevant information regarding the exams can provide some relief. It serves as a good platform for interaction between people who have passed the exam and those who are aspiring for it.
  • Straight from the horse’s mouth: Locate an expert in the field of your interest and shadow them on the net. Sites for professional networking like LinkedIn help you to view the profiles of professionals who are well placed in their careers. You can also follow them on Facebook to familiarize yourself with the ideas they broadcast and their public updates.
    You may also join career-related pages or groups to know further about the practical aspects of your impending profession and the latest developments. Joining pages and groups of the colleges in which you are interested to study would acquaint you with the ethos of that college including its students, alumni, events, and happenings.

Not only this in the age of Web 2.0, but you can also do much more with social media like initiate a campaign; spread awareness; assess the reviews of a particular educational course, college, and career; use google tools for education, find breaking news stories on Twitter, use geotagging to find places you are studying, download e-books and audiobooks from sites like libgen and ebooks, etc.  

A Word of Caution!

In this digital age, if you err in judgment, you could have massive repercussions. Any injudicious post on social media can be used against you in the future by your prospective employer. Deletion is just an illusion as everything is recorded on their database even after it appears deleted. When in doubt, remember to opt for the discretion of your parents and teachers.

Also, over-dependence on the internet for every idea may surpass your own thoughts and creativity. Participation is no longer an option as Social Media isn’t a spectator sport (Solis 2008). Engaging in social media not only helps you shape your online presence but also make you digitally literate. So go ahead cautiously and discover the power of social media!