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social media

Using social media efficiently: Is it really possible?

According to recent statistics released by Smart Insights, the number of internet users in 2019 has reached 4.338 billion—currently at an all-time high.

As a child I grew up with my head buried in books, however, today's younger generation seems to be entering their teenage years increasingly engrossed in their smartphones. From an outside perspective of those who didn't have this technology throughout their childhood years, this can be a worrying concept. But with social media being repeatedly labelled as "toxic," are these technological advances really as harmful as people make out?

Of course, there's evidence of the damaging impacts of social media misuse. However, when used safely and correctly, the positive effects can be extensive.

When most people think of the internet as an entity, their minds immediately focus on social media and platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. These platforms have grown massively in popularity over the past few years, and have developed into a societal issue when it comes to their influences on their users.

However, one extremely important thing for all users to remember is that social media is most accurately described as a "highlights" reel. People display their best bits; from holidays to job promotions, to important milestones in their lives. But the truth is that everyone struggles and life isn't always as perfect as the internet may seem to reflect. Therefore, when using social media and comparing your life to others, keep that in mind.

Social media should be used light-heartedly, and it's always ok to take a step away from it if you feel like it.

With that said, social media and the internet can both be used collaboratively and in isolation in order to enhance both your career goals and personal life. I've picked out five key elements which I believe can help you to use these platforms more efficiently:

Research

When carrying out research, the internet can often be your best friend. As well as traditional research sources, such as journals and newspapers, branching out into using sources available on the internet and social media can provide constantly evolving research tools and information points.

However, knowing how to verify your sources is extremely important, especially with the abundance of fake news being spread across social media recently. Luckily, there are now various verification tools and cross-comparison sites which can be used to ensure that all information you gather online is accurate and up to date. Below are a number of safe online research platforms, for both qualitative and quantitative methodologies:

  • Google Scholar
  • Online Libraries
  • Liveminds
LinkedIn
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LinkedIn member and on-camera news anchor, @daniellerobay, landed her dream job and then did something strange… she quit. “When I got [to my new office], the job description was completely different from its actual duties, the people I was working with were competitive instead of collaborative, and after six months of trying to push through everyday but secretly crying in the bathroom at lunch, I quit.” But she didn’t give up. Instead, Danielle took a chance and turned to LinkedIn where she cold-messaged professionals in her field, including an executive from VH1 who was willing to offer a helping hand. That helping hand lead to more meetings and finally an interview with her current company, which ended up being much more her style. “LEAP!” Says Danielle, “You have to say yes to things before you think you’re ready, and go after opportunities you may not be ‘qualified’ for … If you have a strong why, you will figure out how.”

A post shared by LinkedIn (@linkedin) on

When it comes to building connections and reaching your career goals, LinkedIn is a social media platform which makes life 10x easier. Don't be afraid to reach out to employers and fellow users, as they can provide vital insights into progressing in your chosen field, as well as providing exclusive job opportunities which may not always be advertised on websites such as Indeed and Jobseekers.

Building and developing your LinkedIn profile is an excellent starting point, as it allows you to both shows off your achievements to future employers, but also gives them an insight into the type of person you are, and the career you aspire to build.

Of all social media platforms, LinkedIn is probably one of the most useful, helpful, and powerful sites when it comes to using your smartphone to benefit your career. If you haven't already created an account, you can start today and sign up here.

Reaching out

As well as LinkedIn, other social media platforms such as Twitter can also be used efficiently and effectively when it comes to reaching out to people who may be able to help you in your career and job. In my field of work (Journalism) Twitter can be an absolute lifesaver.

For example, there's nothing worse than having a fresh idea for a new feature article, and then struggling to find respondents to help you develop it. However, with hashtags and trends on Twitter, such as "#journorequest," reaching out to relevant contacts has never been easier. As such a popular hashtag, you're bound to get numerous responses to your query within hours. After all, whether it is work-related or not, it's always nice to have a helping hand every now and again.

Podcasts

On my usual commute, I normally find myself with my headphones in and loading up the Spotify app the second I leave my door. However, recently I've discovered podcasts and haven't looked back since.

On the iTunes Podcast app, there are hundreds of podcasts to choose from (my favourite being The Girls Bathroom and the new Pretty Little Thing: Behind Closed Doors podcasts) and the majority are free to listen to.

As someone who's always struggled to be a morning person, listening to these podcasts has impacted massively on my productivity. They get you engaged from the get-go, and can even stimulate your brain to get more motivated for the day. Why not try it and see what you think?

Social media

As mentioned above, social media can also be a powerful tool when it comes to everyday life. One tip that cannot be stressed enough is to change your following habits if you feel like your feed is getting you down, or not fulfilling its true purpose.

Remove people who make you feel bad about yourself, and follow people who motivate you.

This can be influencers who radiate positive messages, or creative accounts that inspire you. You'll notice an immediate difference.

Next time you pick up your smartphone, think about how you're using it, and whether you could be using it more efficiently. With continuous technological advancements, the future possibilities and developments appear to be endless; so make the most of what's in front of you.

There are so many opportunities out there, it's just having the courage and right tools to be able to grasp them.

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