Social media gets a pretty bad reputation for being a time suck. For example, Cal Newport argues that people should quit social media for the benefit of their careers.

I get it. I really do. Social media’s reputation as a procrastination tool is well-earned.

But I’ve also found that social media can also be used for a range of other purposes aside from distracting us from our work.

Here are just a few ways that I find social media to be helpful:

  1. I find interesting content that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. Almost daily, I see articles, blog posts, and other content that is interesting and knowledge-building for me. Just today, I saw a video of an art installation that I otherwise would have known nothing about.
  2. I build connections with cool people. The people I have met online are starting to outnumber the people I have networked with in real life. Online, the scale is significantly larger and the barriers to interact with other people are significantly lower.
  3. I see when something is trending in the news. This year in particular, I’m reading less news. Although I don’t depend on social media as a news source on it’s own, it often does alert me to when I need to pop over to something like the New York Times to take a look at a news event.

Most importantly, however, I’ve been using social media to keep me productive by holding me accountable.

I’m now intentionally using various social media platforms to publicly state goals and share my progress on different projects.

Here are some examples:


  • I often tweet out updates when I’m completed a writing challenge or retreat
  • As I sit down to write, sometimes I set a goal (such as word count) and tweet it out to be completed in a certain time period
  • I share out progress reports on Twitter about new projects I’m developing and their status pre-launch

Instagram stories:

  • Some mornings, I post my goals for the day on Instagram stories and then post updates throughout the day of what I’ve been able to accomplish


  • Similar to Twitter, I tease new projects I’m developing by sharing about their status pre-launch


  • I catalogued daily progress for my 30-day writing challenge in April 2017
  • I made twice daily update videos for one of my 10-day writing retreats

We get to choose how we use social media. I’m choosing to have it help me be more productive.

To think on:

  • What ways are you using social media to help you stay accountable?