On a typical day, my fingers automatically type Facebook in a browser despite that not being my intended destination. My mind conjures potential tweets and stores them in a mental bank for later use. I see the world through Instagram filters without even having to leave my couch.
These habits may sound ridiculous, but there is an army of young millennials just like me. We have grown up utilizing the World Wide Web as our primary mode of communication. We are constantly being stimulated by the wealth of information at our fingertips. We feel compelled to let everyone know what we are learning, doing, and interested in at all hours of the day. In some ways, you could say we are social media experts, technology connoisseurs, and every company's greatest marketing asset. We are digital natives and the Internet is our playground.
As I have made the exciting but challenging leap from college to the business world, these tendencies have become more apparent to me than ever. Despite living in a society where intertwining your work and online personas is often scrutinized, I see an opportunity. Why not use these innate technological skills to our advantage? We all have the tools to move our professional lives forward by tapping into the resources around us. I am not suggesting that us millennials spend more of our day staring at a screen, but rather repurpose some of our time online into productive research, sharing, and networking. Here are a few examples of activities that I have found useful over the last few months:
- Sign up for webinars or watch TEDtalks that are related to your industry.
- Connect with a new professional each day on Linkedin to expand your network. Include a personal message as to why you would like to connect.
- Create a slideshare about a topic you have learned on the job. This is a good way to summarize what you've been working on and also help you be viewed as an 'expert' on various subjects over time.
- Research and try out new applications or software that may be helpful to your company. Presenting these ideas can show that you are proactive and invested in the future.
- Use Facebook or Twitter to start conversations with your peers. Learn about new experiences they've had since joining the workforce.
- Follow industry leaders whose purpose resonates with you. They often have their own websites, blogs, and books.
- Start your own blog or join a blogging platform such as Medium.com. Medium has a simple, easy to use interface that allows your work to be read by thousands of other users.
- Use an app such as Evernote to keep track of the most insightful articles, tips, or quotes you happen upon while surfing the 'net.
Exploring some of these activities not only provides you with new perspectives, but can help to develop your personal brand as well. Building your presence online can keep you more connected with potential job and business opportunities. I also find that I am often more inspired, creative, and productive after spending just a little time each day engaging with these internet resources.
So next time you grab your phone to tweet about the eggs you had for breakfast, throw in an insightful article to share with others. By being a little more purposeful with the information we share, not only can we move our own careers forward, but also inspire others to collaborate and be more innovative as well.