It's time for my check-in at the end of the second week using social media for language learning, and it was a good one!
The Challenge: Do something for my languages every day using social media.
More precisely, I'm following my friend Lindsay's(does Languages) 28 Day Planner from the course "Social Media Success". If you want to join in with the challenge, check out the full details here or catch up with week 1 here.
Learning a Language When Life is Busy
Looking at a calendar, I always knew that this week was going to be a busy one. It's Christmas at the weekend and there was much to be done, including a full day of train travel from the UK to Germany. When I'm not in my usual environment, it's easy for good habits or routines to fall by the wayside. But this week, I was positively surprised: Lindsay's theories about social media seem to hold up. Facebook, Twitter, all those little apps, really do sneak into my life even when there's a lot going on. So it was possible to keep up with my language tasks in under 10 minutes every day.
Quick recap: I used 5 social networks this week:
In addition to those up there, I also downloaded the Tumblr app and connected it to my Instagram account, but I didn't find the time to study Tumblr in more detail.
Instagram Language Challenge
The concept of the #iglc (Instagram Language Challenge) continues to be a lot of fun: Every day I've got to take a photo or upload a little image featuring a word or video. It was a lot of fun to make my video of the week this time as I had a guest star, Mr Simon Ager from Omniglot. Maybe you remember him from our podcast episode about the secret languages of Britain?
Simon was in town this weekend and allowed me to practice my Welsh with him. We spoke for 10-15 minutes before I had to concede that my head was buzzing. Great progress - I've not felt like I can have a conversation in Welsh before!
Here's our little Insta video:
On several occasions I may have known the word for the prompt, but in the photo caption I still got to practice something new, like Welsh mutations with the word for dog.
Instagram is a great social media start for language learners because it's so fun to use the caption space and post emoji, thoughts, or just a string of hashtags. I also enjoy the sense of community that comes from sharing hashtags like #iglc, #kerstinsocial, or #languagelover. Several people have commented on my photos with help or replies in Welsh, which is both great practice and great encouragement. What more do we language learners need?
And with the little Instagram Now feature, I was even able to post a few of my errors or attempts at the secondary language in this challenge, which is Malaysian.
Key Lesson from Instagram this week: Bring in your friends and find that language learning community - both online and offline!
I read a statistic this week saying that over 80% of the American population are now on Facebook - that's nuts! We really do love our Facebook, and it's only right that we bring language learning into this.
Using last week's prompts, I remembered to check out a favourite band's Welsh language page, and I hit the "Like" button on a few of their posts. That's now the "Hoffi" button of course, since my Facebook user language is switched to Welsh.
I also posted every day in my group, Fluent Language Learners. Even when no one replies, the accountability of posting in a group is helpful.
And here is the thing:
Facebook uses this powerful algorithm to decide which posts it wants to show me first, and it picked up on my Welsh activity very quickly. Now I see more posts from language learning groups and automatically get more articles about the language.
Key Lesson: Tell Facebook you like language learning by liking and clicking on articles from groups & fan pages that you like, and it will respond to you in kind.
Creepy but useful, right?
By the way: Lindsay talks about accountability in Social Media Success, explaining three big keys to accountability: goals, challenges and going public. I was pleased to find out that this current project hits all three of the goals. The information in this course makes it easy to go from time-wasting to effective action, so I would highly recommend it!
Yay for Twitter! This is one of my favourite social networks and once again I had great fun on Twitter. I wrote several tweets in Welsh and almost every one of them got a response - incredible! Great to know that my language skills are picking up speed. Before going public and actually tweeting in Welsh, I didn't even know that my current skills were good enough for an online chat.
I haven't found the courage to post in Malaysian yet - saving that one for Snapchat.
Key Lesson: Go Public!! Even if you're not perfect, people will respond.
Oof, last social network to report on. Snapchat was a great one this week. The challenge plan slowly ramps up and asked me to document five mistakes in one day this week. Luckily, I didn't have to go too far to find those mistakes to make. I simply took some grammar tests - hah!
On my busiest days, Snapchat was the easiest social network to keep up with. It can be demanding to write a tweet in a foreign language, but to quickly shoot 10 seconds of video with a new vocabulary word seems more manageable.
I also find Snapchat more forgiving because the videos disappear after 24 hours, so that I'm feeling more confident with Malaysian practice (that's the language I don't really know). And it's fun to share what I'm up to as well and to see glimpses of fellow language learners' lives.
Key Lesson: Don't get too serious about Snapchat and use it as your language playground!
- Find my snapchat account fluentlanguage and add me as a friend
Are you Taking the Challenge?
If you're also following some prompts from my 28 Days of Social Media for Language learning, how's it going? What did you enjoy this week? Leave a comment below!
You can join in on Facebook or by using the #kerstinsocial hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
And now, I wish you an AWESOME holiday week and hope you get great presents!!