Newswise — Just because the carefree days of summer come to an end doesn’t mean you need to give up your favourite social media platforms. True, getting caught in embarrassing Facebook pictures or inappropriate Twitter feeds might inhibit your academic success, but using these platforms can actually help you. These tips will help you use social and digital media to your advantage:

• Social media can be quite overwhelming; the trick is to focus on a couple key platforms and really target your use. Don’t like too many groups, just pick what’s important to you, this way you won’t get overloaded with news and updates.• Twitter is great because it can help you keep in touch with the administrative staff of your university/college. Through their feeds they can keep you up to date on campus news and events, and even on “did you know” type items like school policies. You can also use Twitter to pose a question to other students at your school to start conversations and make change in your university/college. • Find out the rules and regulations around the use of social media in your school. There are limitations as to how much information you can divulge without going against privacy policies. Many platforms are great tools to create study groups or be in touch with class members. But, remember: don’t share notes or essays through these methods. Plagiarism is against school policy, no matter the vehicle. • Take advantage of the wealth of information social and digital media can provide. Using search engines like Quora or Google can optimize your primary research and can make a difference between a B or an A. • Digital media tools are also a great way to help you get ahead. Tools like an iPad or Evernote can help you during those times where your professor goes over things so quickly that you can’t quite catch what they wrote or said. (Evernote is a suite of software for your smartphone that enables you to take notes and archive anything you’ve missed through voice recording and photos of hand-written notes.) • Focus Booster is a great app that can help you organize your study time and break time. Based on a countdown, you set the timer to suit your needs: i.e., 20 minutes of study time and a five minute break, etc. Knowing a break is coming can help you stay on task. For Mac users, using the Self-Control App can help get your attention away from browsing time-wasting websites. This self-set site blocker can optimize your work time by restricting your access to distractions. • Use Google calendar. This tool can be easily synced to your phone, where you can transfer important times and dates as well as your class schedule. You have no excuse not to attend class when you have this trusty app in your back pocket! Also, Google docs can help you get through group projects without disputes. Each team member can upload their work on Google docs, and other members can edit and create other work without having to physically meet during crunch time.

Soapbox is an online platform for community based change that allows each person to get their idea into the hands of key decision makers. Each user can submit and vote on any idea in order to bubble up the collective voice of the users. For more information, visit

Hitsend is one of 24 companies currently incubating at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone. For more digitally-themed back to school expert tips, visit the Back to School page at

Digital Media Zone expert available for interviews:

Brennan McEachranCEO of HitsendContact Heather Kearney to speak with Brennan

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