Social Media is great tool to practice speaking and writing in whatever language you’re trying to learn. You don’t even have to be fluent to get the benefits. Absolute beginners can still participate in social media groups in a meaningful way. I think that all social media is helpful, but Facebook groups in particular give you a low-risk environment where you can connect with native speakers while practicing new skills and learning new vocabulary.
Spoken Language, Written Down
Most languages are not written the same way they are spoken.
Gonna, for example, is probably not a word that you will come across in any written publication. You would, however, see that word all the time in posts on Facebook Groups because the language in written just as if it were spoken. This is extremely valuable as a language learner. You effectiely have an infinite source of idioms and slang that are all written down just waiting for you to learn and use them.
You will also come across informal ways of writing words that you probably will not come across in any class. I’ve learned at least two alternative ways to write the Dutch words
't. I would have not learned those spellings had I just stayed with textbooks and editorial publications.
Oh- and the other vocabulary you encounter in the group? All of that vocabulary is relevant to a topic you are interested in so you will start to get really good at communicating on subjects that really matter to you. This really keeps things fun!
No Risk Immersion
The best part of using social media to learn a language is the people and Facebook Groups are no different. Everyone in a Facebook Group already shares a common interest with you, the only thing left to do is use your new language to make new friends. This can be nerve wracking if this is the first time you’ve communicated in your target language, but there is actually very little to be concerned about.
People post all kinds of things on social media. It absolutely does not matter if you post something that makes absolutely no sense. Think back to a time on Social Media when you came across someone who had less than perfect English. What did you do? I bet that you just read the message, said to yourself that it did not make any sense and then moved on without giving it a second thought. In your Facebook group, you are free to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. If you misuse an idiom that you come across in the group, it will only help refine your skills and get you one step closer to fluency. Mistakes are expected and this is a very safe environment to make them.
It is a very satisfying feeling to post something in a Facebook Group and have native speakers respond to your post. It signals that they understood what you said enough to respond and interact with you.
This is a huge confidence builder because you will start to see that communicating in another language is not about being perfect. It’s about being able to communicate! You will certainly be making mistakes. However, you will see that even though you are making mistakes, people are still more than willing to engage with you. This is particularily true when your responders do not know that you are learning the language because you know they aren’t viewing you as a novelty. They are truly responding to you and thats when things really start to get fun.
Facebook Groups are a great way to move closer to fluency. You can use Facebook Groups to build confidence in a no-risk environment of slang, idioms and informal spellings. More importantly, you will be learning a new language through a subject you enjoy while meeting and interacting with like-minded people. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pictures to comment on. Doei!