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 German on Facebook is to switch the website display language from your native language to German. Why? Because it will give you more exposure to German while you are spending time on Facebook! Even if your Facebook friends post content in languages other than German, it will be useful.
You can easily change the language by clicking on “Settings” and going to the “Language” tab.)
2. Actively connect with German speakers on Facebook
If you have native German speakers on your Facebook friend list, get chatty! Most likely, they post in German and share links to German-language articles. You should use every opportunity to connect with them—in German, 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 German, 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 German content in your News Feed every day. It may be articles (BuzzFeed), videos (Easy German) 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 German learners, where you will be able to ask questions and help others trying to improve their English like you. For example, German Learners Hangout group is a good start.
You can also find a group that focuses on your hobby (this could be anything) and improve your German 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 German in real life, you can set up a Facebook event to invite your friends to an German 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 German? Because it is a great place to learn trendy German vocabulary, understand slang and follow German 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 German.
6. Set up a dedicated Twitter account
If you are new to Twitter, set up your account in German and follow German-speaking users on it. This will help you to keep your stream of tweets mostly German and make your improvement efforts more natural.
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 German
This is a bit like keeping a journal in German, 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 German as well. You will soon notice how much you improve in your ability to formulate thoughts in German.
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.