No matter where you are on the journey of learning English, your English skills can always become better.
Progress is very important for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners alike.
You can always improve. To improve, you will need to practice regularly.
Language improvement is a continuous exercise, so it will never end.
It requires effort, but the effort is worth it! If you make it your goal to improve English little by little, you will always be the best English speaker you can be.
So how do you do it?
One of the best and most natural ways to improve English is to keep up with its trends. Any language evolves (changes). Its grammar adapts to users. Some things that used to be incorrect become commonplace and acceptable. Slang words appear and disappear. What is considered trendy (popular, fashionable) is different every year!
These days, what can be trendier than social media? Social media like Facebook and Twitter offer a lot of opportunities to connect with other people and to stay in touch with friends and family. They are also great tools to practice and improve English.
Use social media to your advantage! This post will tell you how.
Why Social Media Helps Improve Your English
- There are many social media to choose from, each of which has unique features. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat… the choices are endless, and new social media appear every day!
- With so many social media websites and so many people using them regularly, social media provide an endless supply of content that could interest you. This makes it easy for you to keep practicing English by reading and watching fun things, even if for a few minutes per day.
- Social media are called “social” for a reason! Millions of people across the planet are on social media, and many of them are native English speakers. They are all on social media to connect with other people. So, you can connect with them easily!
- The vast majority of social media are free to join and use. So being on them is very accessible—all you need is an internet connection.
So now you know why being on social media makes perfect sense if you want to improve your English. It is time to learn how you can do exactly that!
11 Fun Ways to Improve Your English with Social Media
Let’s start with Facebook, the world’s most popular social media website. It is mainly used to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues by sharing photos, links, videos and text posts. Since Facebook has the most users, you can benefit from it in the most ways!
1. Change your language settings on Facebook
A good start to improving your English on Facebook is to switch the website display language from your native language to English. Why? Because it will give you more exposure to English while you are spending time on Facebook! Even if your Facebook friends post content in languages other than English, it will be useful.
You can easily change the language by clicking on “Settings” and going to the “Language” tab. You will have a choice between English (US) and English (UK). There is also Pirate English, if you are an advanced English speaker who wants to have some fun and learn how pirates speak.
2. Actively connect with English speakers on Facebook
If you have native English speakers on your Facebook friend list, get chatty! Most likely, they post in English and share links to English-language articles. You should use every opportunity to connect with them—in English, of course! Comment on their posts, write on their walls and participate in conversations that may happen in the comment sections. Even if you only write one word or a simple sentence in English, this practice is invaluable (very useful).
3. Like Facebook pages for content
Facebook has tons of groups and pages that are run by people, companies and brands. Their goal is to connect with you, and they often publish interesting content to attract your attention. Use this!
Explore and like pages that interest you, and you will get fresh English content in your News Feed every day. It may be articles (BuzzFeed, Medium), videos (Vox, “The Daily Show”) or even live video streams of events. You will be able to practice English without ever leaving Facebook… but be careful, as Facebook is quite addictive!
4. Join a Facebook group
Groups on Facebook are focused on discussions of almost any topic you can imagine. From knitting to running a business, there is a Facebook group for everyone.
You can join a group of English learners, where you will be able to ask questions and help others trying to improve their English like you. For example, English Learners Hangout group and American English Learners are a good start.
You can also find a group that focuses on your hobby (this could be anything) and improve your English comprehension and reading skills while connecting with like-minded people. Book Lovers, Sewing 4 Beginners, Dungeons and Dragons are just a few examples of hobby groups.
Great language practice all around!
5. Set up a Facebook event
Learning and improving is more fun with friends! If you decide that you want to improve your English in real life, you can set up a Facebook event to invite your friends to an English practice session. It could be a conversation circle, a study group or a themed meet-up.
Facebook makes it really easy to notify your friends of an event you are organizing “offline.” A lot of people rely on Facebook to keep track of their social calendar, so you should take advantage of that!
To create your own Facebook event, log into your account and click on “Events” in the menu column to the left of your News Feed. You will then see your “Events” page, which may show you invites to the events of your friends and popular events in your network. Click on the blue button that says “Create” to add your own. Facebook will guide you through the process. It should only take a few minutes!
Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows you to share short written posts of up to 140 characters. These posts are called “tweets.” Tweets are visible to everyone online by default, but you can choose to prevent people you don’t know from seeing them. Be sure to protect your posts and make them private before you start writing (if this is important to you).
Why would you use Twitter to improve English? Because it is a great place to learn trendy English vocabulary, understand slang and follow English news. People on Twitter publish a lot of tweets, so your stream of content never ends. And it is all live!
Here are some ideas for using Twitter to improve your English.
6. Set up a dedicated Twitter account
If you are new to Twitter, set up your account in English and follow English-speaking users on it. This will help you to keep your stream of tweets mostly English and make your improvement efforts more natural.
Some great Twitter accounts to follow include Merriam-Webster (yes, the dictionary), Matthew Inman (the author of The Oatmeal comics) and NASA (for clear and informative tweets about science and outer space).
When you see a tweet that you like, tweet back (reply) to the person who posted it. It can be a comment, a question or a simple “Thank you!” to initiate (begin) a discussion. Connecting with people on Twitter is all the fun!
7. Tweet in English
This is a bit like keeping a journal in English, except your journal entries are very short and public. It is a great writing exercise. You can tweet about your hobbies, about what you did on a given day, funny things that happen to you, or things you have seen and thoughts you have been having.
If you have followers, encourage them to respond to you in English as well. You will soon notice how much you improve in your ability to formulate thoughts in English.
8. Follow news on Twitter
Twitter is more fun when you have interesting accounts to follow. You can discover new people and also learn about what is happening in the world by following Twitter trends.
To do that, you can visit the “Moments” tab, where a dedicated team of Twitter employees puts together news stories from popular tweets and comments. You can also simply look to the left on the Twitter home page, where you will see the sidebar called “Trends.” Clicking on any topic will show you the latest tweets about it.
If Facebook and Twitter were created for fun, LinkedIn was made for serious business. It is a social medium for professionals of all industries, created to facilitate (make easy) networking and finding work opportunities.
A tool that will help you look professional on LinkedIn is FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
LinkedIn is great for practicing business English and improving your English email writing skills. It is definitely more business- and work-oriented than, for example, Facebook. A lot of major organizations and big businesses maintain a presence here. This means that brands and companies post a lot of interesting content that is relevant to professionals like you! Here is how you can use it to learn English once you join.
9. Create a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn profiles are like online resumes. So, write your LinkedIn profile in English. This will attract the interest of other English speakers, with whom you will be able to connect (in English, obviously).
Writing a profile on LinkedIn is a time-consuming exercise, but it is a crucial (very important) step in learning basic business English. Every profile consists of numerous sections, with LinkedIn offering tips and advice on how to fill them in.
Completing your profile will also give you an idea of what employers in English-speaking countries may expect from a prospective employee. If you are planning on working in the USA, this is very good for you to know!
Making a LinkedIn profile is worth the time and effort. You can use it to search for open jobs and even to apply for jobs online. Who knows? Someone might really like your LinkedIn profile and contact you about a job offer.
10. Find LinkedIn connections
Just like on Facebook, you should connect with people who you already know on LinkedIn. Seek out acquaintances who are native English speakers, so that you can learn from their profiles and enrich your business English vocabulary.
If your LinkedIn connections post updates, follow them regularly. These updates are likely to offer very interesting content that will give you an opportunity to interact with people and get to know them a bit better professionally.
LinkedIn is very useful not only for improving your English, but your professional network as well!
11. Follow companies on LinkedIn
If you don’t know anyone who is on LinkedIn, that is okay! Many reputable companies and big businesses maintain an active presence on the platform while posting a lot of great content. For example, take a look at Booking.com, Pixar Animation Studios or Netflix, all of which have LinkedIn pages.
You should follow the companies you like or admire, so that you will be informed of the articles, video tutorials or even job openings that they publish.
Visiting your LinkedIn home page regularly will allow you to get great reading practice and improve your business English in general!
To sum it up…
With so many tools out there to improve your English, using social media is just one way. They can be perfect platforms for improving reading and conversation skills, for learning new vocabulary and even practicing your grammar usage.
Remember that wanting to improve does not mean that your English is bad. It means that you want it to be the best it can be… and social media can help you get there!