Can Twitter help you study? From procrastination to productive Tweeting

For many students Twitter is rapidly becoming the main form of procrastination.  You’re meant to be finishing your assignment but instead you’re searching for celebrity selfies or playing hashtag games.  If you are looking for distraction, you will find it on Twitter and in a plethora of formats.

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But used wisely, Twitter can be a useful study aid rather than a time-wasting addiction.  Many students are already using it to tap into a vast database of knowledge and connect with experts around the world.  Here are some Twitter tips to help you make the most of your time online:

  1. Stay informed – There is a lot of information thrown at you at the start of the academic year so it’s not surprising that you can’t take it all in.  Many staff at Queen’s are actively using Twitter (really!) so now you can keep up-to-date with what is going on in your School and around the University.  Along with any School accounts, make sure you follow support services such as @LibraryatQUB, @ITQUB, @CareersatQueens and @QUBStudentGuide.
  2. Simplify group work – Keeping the momentum while working on a group assignment can be difficult and there will always be someone who says they didn’t get the email.  Twitter can help you stay in touch and share useful resources, making collaboration child’s play.  Make sure to use the Messages feature if you don’t want to give away all your good ideas!
  3. Find resources – Text books and journals are still the most important resources for your research, but sometimes you need to explore recent developments or views on a topic.  Twitter allows you to access a wide range of online resources and is a great way of keeping up-to-date with the latest theories in your subject area.  Academics often Tweet about their own research or retweet useful resources they have found.  To find regular updates on a topic, use TweetDeck or Tagboard to follow relevant hashtags e.g. #cybersecurity.
  4. Ask questions – Ever wanted to ask industry experts for advice or find out what the public think about an event or policy?  Twitter allows you to interact with people that you would probably never get the opportunity to meet.  Use Twitter polls to ask questions or get involved in Tweet chats on a topic that interests you – you may be surprised at who answers!
  5. Start networking – No matter how much you may wish to, you can’t (afford to) stay a student forever and eventually you will have to start looking for a job.  Use Twitter to learn about careers in your subject area, research job opportunities and make connections with potential employers.  Get noticed for the right reasons and you could get ahead of the crowd in your chosen career.

So there is more to Twitter than procrastination – it’s just a matter of using some of your Tweeting time productively.  You can still follow your favourite football team or comment on a TV show – but try interacting with people who can help you get your degree or point your career in the right direction.  If you can use it to develop your networking skills, Twitter won’t be a waste of your precious time.

Has Twitter helped you in your studies or job search?  Share your experiences in the comments!

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