Public Language Success: Week 2 of 28 Day of Social Media for Language Learning

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.  

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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:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Periscope

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!

Facebook

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!

Twitter

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. 

Snapchat

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! 

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!! 

28 Days of Social Media: The First 6 Social Networks

socialnetworks-language

Hello, hello! It's the first Friday of my "28 Days of Social Media" journey, time to take stock and post a quick update telling you what has worked so far, what I liked and what didn't deliver.

If you want to join in with the challenge, check out the full details here on my blog.

Language Lessons from Social Media

Week 1 was great fun overall. Something I noticed straight away was that I have a head start because I already have all the necessary apps and I know how to use them.

I learnt using:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Periscope
  • Pinterest

So that's 6 social networks. Wow!

If you aren't as confident using social media, Lindsay's course Social Media Success is a great little primer, because it contains a great bunch of intro videos for the networks we don't use for languages. For example, Lindsay shows exactly how to work Snapchat in just 5 minutes. She was my Snapchat tutor at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin this year, and I can certify that she definitely knows a few secrets.

Instagram Love

Every day of this social media challenge asks learners to take part in the #iglc, that's the Instagram Language Challenge. This challenge is run by Lindsay and she posts 28 little prompts every month, so you can reply and post something in your target language and inspired by the prompt every day.

I have enjoyed the creativity in this challenge, especially video day which looked like this:

The #iglc prompts were the most effort out of all the prompts I completed this week - following a prompt takes only 5-10 minutes, but that's more than most things on social media. I think this wasn't so much about the language as it was about wanting my pictures to look really nice and tempting, so that everyone will think I'm cool. A total social media risk!

The key here is to make sure you note down what you're actually adding and learning in one central place. Otherwise all you're making is pretty pictures.

Key Lesson from the IGLC: Go crazy, have fun. But review your words at the end of the week so you can memorize that new vocab.

And I would advise reviewing your words and noting them away from your social media channel, so that you can bring the best knowledge back into your language mode.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic resource for language learners, and I have been using it to inspire my lessons for years as well. You can find anything on there, from new charts to full videos in other languages. This week, I revived my Welsh learning board.

But because materials for this language are still kinda limited on Pinterest, I also started playing with my long-standing little language on the side: Malaysian! I started a new board and felt like I'm finally finding those few minutes to try out my new language.

Key Lesson: Pinterest is a fantastic playground for getting you started in a new language, but also for organizing when you have lots of things on the go.

Today is another review day in the Social Media plan, and I am so grateful that this prompt will help me really learn, not just add more to my list.

Facebook

There was only one prompt this week, which was to switch my Facebook user language. I did switch it to Welsh and learn a few new words of social media vocab.

The best thing about using Facebook was my group Fluent Language Learners because it's a great community for people who are also taking this challenge. Posting in the group every day is making me feel like I have accountability and I'm not going to stop.

Key Lesson: Find a community and tell them what your goal is, so that you can share the progress you are making.

Overall, you can probably tell that I'm having early successes already. I'm learning new Welsh words and using my Welsh, and I'm FINALLY picking up my new language without feeling a lot of pressure.

Next week, my social media update is due on Christmas eve and it's a busy one with lots of travel. Let's see how well language learning can incorporate into our lives when we do it the social media way. I'm looking forward to it!

Periscope

There had to be one that didn't work for me. This was it...Periscope didn't have content I enjoyed or understood, and I struggled with their interface too. Maybe I should download the app?

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 anytime on Facebook, or by posting anywhere using #kerstinsocial.

How to Learn a Language Using Snapchat (Podcast Episode 45)

Everyone's talking about social media, some people are talking about social media for language learning. In today's podcast episode, get the most specific advice possible as Lindsay and I guide you through the Snapchat app for language learning.

Listen to the episode:

Don't forget to catch the mention of our good friends at Flashsticks, the language learning post-it guys. You can purchase vocabulary post-it notes in 8 languages and get 10% off with the code KERSTIN10.

snapchat language learning

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media app for any smartphone. It lets you share photos or videos, and your snap only lasts 24 hours unless you make it a "memory".

Of course you can change the menu language, but with such strong visual focus that alone won't teach you a language.

It's designed for camera phones and not available on your desktop computer.

Why is it awesome?

  • It's easy, fast and low-pressure. In other photo social networks, you would be tempted to make every picture stunning and impressive and beautiful. But in Snapchat, you'll just play and learn in the process. What does that mean? No more shyness, no more reasons to avoid speaking!
  • It allows you to stitch things together into a story, so you can share a 5-second snap, or go ahead and combine several videos to show how you speak a foreign language.
  • For language learning, the new Memories feature is a way to track your progress. Record yourself speaking today, save the memory, and try the same thing in a month. You'll be surprised at your own progress!

How to Get The Most Out of This For Languages

You may have to set up a little system in order to get the most out of this, for example an evening review or a regular vocab routine.

1. Document
Lindsay studies every morning and documents her mistakes on Snapchat, while I am more spontaneous and use the system to show and share how languages pop up in my day.

2. Check and Correct Errors
One other idea is to practice what you want to practice, then check back and correct the errors that you made. We go into detail about how important it is not just to make the mistakes, but to correct the mistakes so that you can get better.

3. Make Yourself a Vocab Resource
As you go through your day, why not take pictures of all you see around you and build yourself a little daily vocab resource? You can save the story in Memories at the end of the day, or do an evening review to add the words to your vocabulary bank.

Great Accounts to Follow (Click for the Snapcodes)

Are You a Snapchat User?

If you use Snapchat for language learning (or not), leave us a comment and share your usernames and snapcodes.

Thank you guys so much for being podcast listeners, chatting to us on twitter (I'm @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages) and making your voices heard!