How to Use Social Media to Stay Involved and Connected

A bar chart showing an increase in daily time spent on social networking from 90 minutes in 2012 to 153 minutes in 2019.

By: Bailey Arionus-Lecouris  

November 12, 2020  

One of the biggest challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic is the ability for students to stay engaged and active in their classes and extra-curricular activities. Our environment as students has changed drastically over this last year and it can be easy to get lost in the virtual environment. It has become harder to connect with our peers, stay on top of our assignments, get involved, and stay focused. This blog post will explain how social media can help us stay engaged and get involved in our education.  

Since we are all locked indoors on our devices for the majority of our time, the time that we don’t spend on our Zoom calls or doing our homework is usually spent on social media platforms. Scrolling aimlessly through the different applications, which is illustrated with the graphic below created by Broadband Search(opens in new window). The average time spent on social networking sites daily in 2019 was 153 minutes. This is a lot of our time that we spend on our social media sites, and many spend even more time than this, especially with the pandemic and the rise of people at home on their devices. Since we are already spending our time consumed by our devices, why not take a few extra steps to stay connected?   

Connect with Organizations, Clubs, and Educators

One way to stay involved is to follow your university and associated clubs, such as the Western Washington University Marketing Program, on the social media platforms that they use. This could range from joining a Facebook group created for your major or interests, or explore other social media platforms like Instagram(opens in new window)LinkedIn(opens in new window), or Twitter(opens in new window). Follow these hyperlinks to take you directly to the WWU Marketing Program’s accounts on these platforms to start connecting today! 

Educators or club leaders often post important information on their social media. Their goal is to pass along information and increase awareness. By following these pages, you get first-hand knowledge of resources and events directly from the source. The added bonus to this is that it is low commitment and you can unfollow at any time. You can take the information you need, write it down, sign up, further engage, or you can choose to forgo the information if it does not fit your needs at the time. The important thing is to stay aware of what they are posting, and at least look over what they post to see if its applicable to you.  

Connect with Peers

The first few minutes of most college classes are usually spent chatting and connecting with the people who are sitting around you. This is how relationships develop between peers and valuable connections are formed. However, within this age of virtual learning there is very little chance to interact with our peers and talk with them, other than in assigned infrequent break-out rooms. It can be very daunting to try and maneuver your classes without the help of your peers and that constant interaction.  

That is why I encourage you to utilize the People tab on your classes’ Canvas page; this will show you the people in your classes. From there, it would be beneficial to reach out to a few of these people. It may seem uncomfortable and awkward at first but taking the time to follow them on social media, send a quick hello and acknowledging your mutual class can be really beneficial. Social media is a less formal way to reach out and making contact than sending an email, and it is more comfortable in this day and age. Since you both most likely already have established accounts on these apps, you would be able to learn more about your peers by taking a look into their social media. Once you have that connection, you have a fellow ally to collaborate with, study with, and get through this time of virtual education together.  

A diagram showing people linked together by social networking apps such as LinkedIn and Instrgram.

Source: Pixabay

In Conclusion

These times are trying for everyone, I encourage you to utilize the resource we already have at our fingertips to stay connected and involved. It can be difficult when you are isolated from campus life to know what kind of events are happening, be up to date on news, or stay connected with peers. Therefore, using the platforms that you already use and taking them just a step further can help bridge this gap.