Over the past twenty years, the Internet has delivered far-reaching changes to all manner of society, and many current students haven’t known a world without it. With data only a click away, there is access to a wealth of accumulated knowledge unimaginable a generation ago, but also a tendency for scattered attentions and arguably, reduced research capabilities due to an overreliance on search engines. Online social networking is a phenomenon that has swept the world in recent years, which likewise can be used either positively or negatively. At the same time, there have been amazing advances in educational methods integrating interactive digital media, like online projects, the creation of websites by students of web design courses, online study groups and the first virtual classrooms. Here are some tips for using online tools productively.
Own your social capital
“Social capital” broadly refers to the intangible resources accumulated through relationships with others, goodwill generated from sharing information that can fulfill personal goals. Social networks provide the bridge that makes building social capital far easier than in the past. Developing and maintaining relationships on social networking sites can serve to supplement and enhance existing face-to-face interactions. It is integral to any business training as it encourages increased collaboration without requiring constant physical meetings.
The line between personal space and work is blurred in the social media world, so it’s advisable to communicate in your authentic voice and promote only what you would personally endorse in the “real world.” Be sure to update your privacy settings on any site you use and think twice before posting content in public spaces. Unless you are using an alias for your online avatar, something that seemed like a good idea on a silly whim years before could reappear at the most inconvenient time.
Control your social media image
Before Facebook was used by everyone and their grandmother, it was exclusively a communication tool for college students. It’s not just about pictures of your lunch or funny cat videos – it can be used to share genuinely informative articles or insights that relate to your education. Instant messaging can be a time waster or it can give you the last minute help you need to complete assignments. It takes extra discipline to stay on task and it’s probably best to use Facebook as a reward for after you have finished your work. Remember that everyone from recruiters to border guards have been known to perform background checks by viewing your profile and there are many cases where thoughtless posts have cost students big time.
Career-focused graduates have found LinkedIn beneficial to expand their professional network.Students can do advanced searches using their program and college as keywords to identify people who may help in finding internship or job opportunities. Some students have used YouTube to upload virtual CVs conveying professional personas. There are many online discussion groups in subjects like healthcare training that can deepen understanding and develop contacts. You can create online study groups using conference call tools to interact instantly at specified times. The web is an immense global network that, used correctly, can greatly complement and enhance your education. It’s all about how you use it!