How to Use Social Media for Learning: Go Directly to the Experts

Stuck on writing your senior thesis paper, unable to find a comprehensive explanation or answer? Sometimes, going right to the source — or at least the expert — can be the most beneficial way to get a good grade. By using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can go directly to the experts to ask questions, whether for clarification or to get more insight into the topic you are studying.

Most industry thought leaders and experts have a visible and vocal presence on social media platforms — particularly Facebook and Google+. While the social media voices of “celebrities” are usually maintained by PR firms, these experts can be found personally interacting with their friends, followers, and colleagues using social media throughout the day. If you think reaching out to such a person would be beneficial for your learning experience, don’t hesitate to like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, followed by asking a question on their wall (on Facebook) or via an @mention (on Twitter).

How to Use Social Media for Learning: Go Directly to the ExpertsThese experts typically are very happy to help, but may not respond immediately. Many devote specific hours of the day to answering email and checking Facebook notifications. You may see them continuing to post, but they may have their social media accounts automating or using an assistant for routine comments. Give them time. If you would like to enlist the help of an expert to assist in the learning process, be sure you also give them ample time to respond, and do not continue to hound them for a response, either. This will only reduce your chance of a response.

Reaching out to an expert via social media for learning is a great way to get a fresh perspective on the topic you are learning and understand the material as it applies to a real world model. Be sure when reaching out to an expert you are as courteous and professional as possible, and respect the time they are giving you in a response.