As a college student, I can see how social networking impacts my fellow classmates and I. . Wherever it may be, people are constantly checking their Facebook notifications, updating their status’, tweeting thoughts, hash tagging a phrase, or liking a friends comment.
The widespread use of sites like Facebook and Twitter by college students is causing a lot of controversy of whether or not these sites are beneficial for student growth. In the debate of social networking’s impact on college students, some believe that the sites are causing educational and social problems. Nevertheless, others believe that the sites offer a new means of being social and can actually benefit academics when used properly.
So lets analyze the issue. Lets find out the truth!
First off, social networking sites have brought people of the 21st century a new form of communication and medium for staying connected. In today’s internet-based world, staying in touch, planning events, doing business, and networking has never been easier. We now have the means to even more quickly and efficiently manage our social and professional lives.
For college students, this creates a revolutionary new social experience. Parties and study sessions can now be planned on Facebook, pictures can be instantly uploaded for everyone to see, and newsfeed’s reveal a whole virtual world of social interaction. On the other hand, some say that this new social experience is taking the place of more meaningful “face-to-face” interactions. The truth is that the opposite is actually happening. In a study done by email marketing provider ExactTarget, “data shows that among consumers increasing Facebook use, 27% are meeting friends in person more”. Contrary to popular belief, social networking sites are actually creating “a social glue between friends” and thus benefiting the social experience of college.
There are also many ways in which social networking sites contribute to bringing groups of people together. In a study done by Professor Sebastian Valenzuela at the University of Texas concerning social networking sites and college students, results found “positive relationships between intensity of Facebook use and students’ life satisfaction, social trust, civil participation, and political engagement” (Valenzuela 2).
It is well known that college students have always been known to be prominent participants for political, economical, and social change. Now, social media sites like Facebook allow large groups of people to come together, create events, and spread opinions like never before.
Moving away from the social aspect, social networking also affects education.Those who oppose social networking sites in the classroom argue that the sites cause an extreme distraction for students and sway a student’s interest in studying. With information collected by OnlineEducation.net, data showed that integrating Twitter into classroom activities actually increased grades by half a gradepoint. Furthermore, was found that “1 in 3 students use social networking sites for educational purposes”.
In another experimental study at Lock Haven University, 132 students were evaluated to see how social networking affected their academic performance. The results found that “using Twitter in educationally relevant ways can increase student engagement and improve grades, and thus, social media can be used as an educational tool to help students reach desired college outcomes (Junco 12).” Nevertheless, other data from the OnlineEducation.net study found that checking Facebook while studying caused “20% lower grades” and decreased overall study time from 11-15 hours to 1-5 hours. What we can conclude from these studies is that there truly are ways that social networking can benefit education and that there are negative aspects that students need to understand in order to succeed in college.
Yet another way social networking sites help is with finding jobs and evolving a career. Sites like LinkedIn create a new platform for web-based social interaction between employers and prospective employees. Especially in today’s tough economic times, these sites prove to be a huge help for recent college graduates. LinkedIn has proven to be a great tool to “research companies, extend resumes, prepare for interviews, and find a career path that fits a student’s interests and goals” (http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/03/11-reasons-why-every-college-student-needs-a-linkedin-page/).
The truth is that the positive aspects exceed the negative aspects as long as college students understand their effect. In academics, social networking has proven to increase grades when used properly. In other aspects, social networking is nothing but positive tool utilized by college students. It has proven to be very advantageous in social life and is becoming increasingly more important when trying to find a job.
Social networking is a revolutionary new form of social interaction and one that can be used for many different purposes. It is necessary to understand all of the effects of social networking sites because college students have never experienced anything like this before.
So as long as college students demonstrate a sense of responsibility and take in all the great things offered by social networking sites, it will unquestionably benefit their social participation, professional lives, and education.