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Using Social Media to Build Professional Skills

Some might think of social media as a black hole that destroys productivity—but a fun black hole that keeps them coming back for more. There is no need to think of social media in such pessimistic terms though. As Alexandra Samuel explains in an article for Harvard Business Review, social media can be leveraged to improve your professional skills. She finds that framing your social media experience according to these three questions allows you to have a good and productive time:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • When do I have time for learning?
  • Whom do I want to learn from or with?

Retweet Your Career

There are many things you might want to learn. You might want to keep abreast of developments and trends in your industry, in which case you should follow industry leaders on Twitter and LinkedIn. Alternatively, you might want to work on building more work skills. If you are looking to develop your artistic or slideshow presentation skills, Samuel recommends looking for inspiration from infographics on Pinterest. Or if you are looking to better manage your time, you might follow productivity gurus on Twitter and track their advice.

It is easy to find time to squeeze social media in between other activities, once you have decided what specific aspects of social media are going to help you learn. In particular, learning/advice podcasts are convenient to listen to during a commute or while doing household chores. You should of course not engage in social media (even for learning purposes) at the expense of more important work though.

Samuel acknowledges that many people best learn in groups, and fortunately, social media is all about groups:

To find a group that works for you, ask friends or colleagues whether they’re part of any learning or professional communities that could help you in a specific field or area of your working life. The clearer you are about what you want to learn, and the types of people you want to learn from, the more likely you are to find the right community for you.

In my experience the most valuable groups are smaller, invitation-only communities in which every member knows at least one other person in the group. That creates the level of trust necessary for people to share difficult experiences and inside tips, as well as to ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a more public setting.

Yep, ingratiate yourself with the right cabal and everything will work out! You can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2016/08/using-social-media-to-build-professional-skills

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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