Guest post by Josh Birdwell | 19-year-old Co-founder of Skillstarter
For some, social media is a place to announce or read every thought or post pictures of the weekend's regrets.
Not for me.
I am a targeted user of social media who knows how to customize platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to work for me.
I use Facebook groups, which are a big part of my browsing time, with Uncollege Network and the Under 20 Network taking a front seat. I have attended events connected to both of them in San Francisco and New York City. As a result, Facebook has become a place of empowerment and connectivity to invaluable communities.
To make Facebook as efficient as possible, I unsubscribe to “friends” who post random or senseless updates. I also eliminate boring Farmville feed updates by turning off all senseless notifications and hide pointless updates.
As a result, every I visit my homepage I end up opening articles or connecting with friends globally. I chat with my friends from the UK to Sweden on a regular basis. Befriending self-driven people allows me to receive advice and support in my life. I thought I was alone in some areas, but boy was I wrong; I am finding more people who are in the same boat.
It doesn’t end with Facebook.
I use Twitter much in the same manner as I use Facebook. I follow people who share similar passions and hit the Twitter share button (aka “retweet”) after reading through a noteworthy article. As a result, I am not reading tweets about a T.V. show I could care less about, but instead I discover a new biotech article on DNA storage.
Platforms such as Student Voice have hashtag chats (#StuVoice) on a set topic - education to discuss a set question i.e. “How does standardized testing help students?” at a set time, Monday’s at 9:00 p.m. These are always beneficial to engage in by tweeting along.
And then we have another social outlet...
This place facilitates online sharing and conversation with elements of Facebook and Twitter, but what makes it unique are Google Hangouts. The Uncollege Network hosted one last week. There was a good number (about 10) in attendance, each talking and sharing his or her experiences on schooling alternatives with one of the hangout windows connecting us to a face-to-face Uncollege meetup.
It takes a little time, but after shoveling through the mess, I end up with a beautiful feed of links, relevant content, and robust conversations that meet my entrepreneurial and technology interests.
As a result, I don’t waste time on social media. To the contrary.
Social networks have become a gateway to learning and empowerment. So what do you think? How might you follow suit personalize your own experiences with social media in order to appreciate its full potential? Comment with your thoughts, insights, and questions.