Dear fellow college students,
We are living in an ever-changing environment and experiencing completely new things that past generations have not experienced. Social networking sites consume our daily lives. It seems like wherever you look, someone is updating their Facebook status or commenting on a photo. Whatever it may be, sites like Facebook and Twitter are a huge part of college life. Some of you would probably say that social networking is destroying more meaningful social interaction and that the sites are a huge distraction when it comes to studying or paying attention in class. Others of you would probably say that the sites are a cool way of staying in touch and keeping your social lives thriving.
What we are seeing is a huge dilemma of whether or not these sites are positive or negative towards our social, academic, and professional lives. I am writing to you today to tell you that there are negative aspects of social networking; however, there are tons of positive aspects that more than outweigh the negative ones.
First off, think about how social networking has impacted your social lives. In most cases, social networking has helped with creating a cool new layer to social interaction. Parties and events can now be planned on Facebook, pictures and videos can be instantly uploaded for friends to see, and newsfeed’s reveal a whole virtual world of social interaction. Personally, I love to go through my Facebook photos and relive good memories shared with friends. Additionally, chatting on Facebook or commenting on various things can also be a fun way to stay connected. Although most of you would probably agree with social networking’s positive impact on social life, some of you would probably say that these sites take the place of more meaningful “face-to-face” interaction. Well I’m here to tell you that that is completely false. In a study done by marketing provider ExactTarget, “data shows that among consumers increasing Facebook use, 27% are meeting friends in person more”. So for those of you who thought differently, I can reassure you that Facebook can actually be a great tool to then meet people in person.
When it comes to academics, social networking might not seem all that great. On a daily basis, I see people in my classes browsing through their newsfeed’s and twitter followings instead of paying attention in class. It is true that social networking can be a huge distraction when it comes to getting work done. In a study done by OnlineEducation.net, it was found that checking Facebook while studying caused “20% lower grades” and decreased overall study time from 11-15 hours to 1-5 hours. So yes, Facebook can be a huge distraction for us college students. Although distractions exist, there are positive aspects. In a study done at Lock Haven University, results found that “using Twitter in educationally relevant ways can increased student engagement and improved grades”. In another study by OnlineEducation.net, data showed that integrating Twitter into classroom activities actually increased grades by half a grade point. In addition, planning study sessions or getting help from a friend is really easy when using sites like Facebook and Twitter. Although distractions exist, social networking sites can still be an awesome tool for education if used the right way.
In addition to school and social lives, social networking can be used to get a job. Sites like LinkedIn are a great way to network and find job opportunities. We live in pretty tough economic times and as college students we need to take advantage of any opportunity that we have. Employers are all over LinkedIn looking for prospective employees and it’s a great place to get your name out there. Sites like LinkedIn create incredible benefits for us college kids when getting ready to start our careers and are a great example of how social networking can be used.
As you’ve seen, social networking has all sorts of benefits and impacts on our lives. It’s important for us to understand all aspects of social networking and take the most out of the positive things. In academics, social networking can be detrimental towards your grades, but if used properly, it can benefit your education. With social life, these sites offer a new means of staying connected and growing as a person. With life after college, social sites can even help you in your career path and landing a successful job.
The main point I would like to make is that social networking is a fantastic feature that we as current college students should be privileged to have. No other generation has had so many opportunities as we do and if used responsibly, social networking can help in all aspects of our hectic college lives.