Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: 2 simple social media habits that will make you smarter right away

Social media hacks to make you smarter overnight

An open mind and a willingness to learn are two essential traits of a successful professional, at any stage of a career.

In fact, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says that regardless of whether you graduated last year or 10 years ago, "you cannot possibly be finished getting smarter."

One of the easiest ways to keep learning, Welch says, is to optimize your social media feeds so they're deepening your knowledge and not just demanding your attention. Here are two simple techniques she recommends for adding depth to your timeline: 

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

1. Follow people you don't agree with

According to Welch, one of the best ways to create a more intellectually nourishing feed is to follow people whose ideas about politics, business and social issues you don't agree with.

"I know this sounds painful," she says. "Why would you ever want to listen to those idiots, right? Well, because an echo chamber does not challenge your worldview and it cannot possibly expand it."

Welch says that as a dedicated animal rights activist, she makes a point to follow cattle ranchers and hunters on Twitter. "Generally, these people drive me insane," she says. "But they also teach me that there are human beings behind every opinion, and occasionally, they shake up my assumptions."

She emphasizes that adding people she might think of as "opponents" to her social media feeds "has made me more knowledgeable and my arguments, ultimately, more nuanced."

2. Immerse yourself in new topics

Another one of the best ways to turn your social media feed into a learning tool, according to Welch, is to "immerse yourself in new topics." She suggests that every few months you select a new country, industry or issue that you want to learn more about and "treat it like you're taking an intensive course on the subject."

"I've used this approach to add whole chapters to my knowledge base on topics like Chinese trade, fracking, the Balkans and best practices in scaling a start-up," she says. "You'd be amazed how much you can learn just by listening to experts opine and debate. It's like a free master class."

Though many are critical of social media, Welch says "these two techniques are an easy and very effective way to turn your feeds into brain candy that's so good, you won't even notice it's good for you."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at

Video by Claire Nolan

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