Social media has changed the way we communicate. Most university students these days will have at least one account on a social media platform, which they may use for simply sharing moments from their lives. Some even manage to make money from their profiles, with some reports claiming that the influencer industry will be worth between $15 and $25 billion by 2020.
However, while you are studying, social media can often prove to be a distraction. We’ve put together a guide on how you can not only remain productive in the face of constant distraction, but also how social media can actually help you during university.
Limit your screen time
Although real social media addiction is actually very rare, most people are in the habit of constantly checking their feeds and apps – even when they don’t really want to. Once you’ve picked up your phone, five minutes on Instagram can quickly turn into an hour as you scroll through posts or click through stories. Quitting these platforms altogether is hard and also unnecessary; instead, try to get out of the habit of checking them so often.
Allocate time in your study schedule for breaks and feel free to check your phone then. When the time is up, put it away in a drawer where you can’t see it. If you go to pick it up automatically, stop yourself and ask, ‘do I really want to check Facebook right now, or is this just a habit?’ This is an act of mindfulness that can help you refocus and stop you from becoming distracted.
Use productivity apps
If you find it tricky to keep off social media using pure willpower, there are some apps out there that actually reward you for leaving your phone alone. Hold is an app that rewards students for time spent away from your phone. The more time away, the more points you get, and these can then in turn be used for real-world benefits like cinema trips and snacks.
Part of what makes social media so appealing is how easily we can access it. If you put barriers between yourself and the apps you use on a day to day basis, it forces you to consider your actions. Try keeping your phone on silent – or even better, do not disturb – so every notification doesn’t become an immediate excuse to pick it up. If you have a deadline or are revising for an exam, turn off your social media app auto-logins. This means that every time you open the application, you have to enter all your details in which may make you think twice about logging on in the first place.
Although you may use it for an alarm, try to make sure your phone isn’t right by your bed. It makes it too easy to get sucked into a social media spiral instead of sleeping, which in turn will affect your concentration.
Use social media in a positive way
The realities of the modern world mean that building a brand and marketing yourself are often an important part of progressing in your career. Social media can play a big part in this, if you use it correctly. These are our top tips:
- Keep anything you wouldn’t want a future employer to see private
- Follow people who inspire you and interact with them via the platform
- Learn how the platform works – understanding it may help you use it more effectively
- Post content that is inspiring, informative and entertaining
Social media as a source of learning
Twitter is often used to announce political decisions. Prince Harry has just got Instagram. Facebook has been shown to influence elections. Social media is a powerful tool that is ever present in journalism, politics and the world in general. It makes sense, therefore, that it should also play a part in education.
Students can use platforms like Facebook to connect and share knowledge and experiences. You can plan study groups, swap resources and lend support. You can use Twitter to see which relevant topics are trending or if certain politicians or entrepreneurs have shared opinions or articles that may help or inspire you.
Social media can often feel like a double-edged sword but, as with most things, it has its place and is best consumed in moderation.