With social media platforms from LinkedIn all the way to Twitter, you can make or break your chances of performing well in college and finding a job after graduation. Used properly, these websites can help you connect with other people in your field of study. Used improperly, they’ll distract you and hurt your grades.
How can you balance your online social life with your academic life? How do you focus on studying without checking how many “likes” you got on your latest Facebook post? Check out these tips for making social media work in your favor.
Replace Multitasking with Single Tasking
Do you send text messages while you’re in class? Do you check your Twitter notifications while you’re writing a paper? If so, you’re less likely to remember important information. You may think you’re multitasking, but studies show that multitasking’s value is a myth. When you do two or more tasks at a time, what you’re really doing is task-switching. This practice decreases your concentration, which in turn affects your grades.
To increase your productivity, try focusing on one task at a time for 25 minutes to two hours. For example, you can close extra windows on your computer while you work on an essay, and then check your email afterward. Try turning your phone off during class. To let your brain recharge, you should also take a 15-minute break from both studying and social media every couple of hours.
Used wisely, social media can boost your career. Some people have even been hired directly through these sites. For example, Colleen Ballinger now has a show on Netflix starring her YouTube character, Miranda Sings. However, posting the wrong photos or updates online can cost you job opportunities. According to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 55 percent of recruiters have reconsidered candidates based on their profiles on social media sites.
To make the most of your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, use proper grammar and avoid posting profanity, sexual content, and references to illegal drugs. You should also avoid posting any negative comments about previous jobs or employers.
Consider Cutting Back
Unlike the U.K., the U.S. doesn’t yet recognize social media addiction as an official condition. However, you should still use social media sites in moderation. You may have a problem if you find that your usage negatively affects your grades or your relationships with other people.
To cut back on your social media use, you can disable notifications on your phone or download apps that block the internet. Schedule a specific time to check your messages once per day. Don’t know what to do with your newly found free time? Try taking up a hobby or joining a club. Meet people in person more often. Some people opt to do a complete social media “detox” by disabling every account. If you choose to go this route, you can expect withdrawal symptoms to disappear after about 100 days.
As with any tool, the way you use social media determines whether it helps or hinders you. Don’t let social media hold you back in your academic life. Try following at least one of these tips, and see if it makes a difference.