Connecting 101: How College Students Connect Online
Social networking sites are known for allowing individuals to present themselves to the cyber world in order to establish or maintain connections with others. Participants may use such sites to interact with people they already know offline or to meet new people. Social networking sites can be oriented towards a number of contexts. In particular, the college student population utilize social networking sites most to connect with one another.
Not too long ago, college students lived in a world without easy access to WiFi, text messaging, and Facebook, the social networking site that launched in 2004 and now has over 500 million users. For today’s college students, Facebook and other similar social media platforms have become a commonplace. Some may ask if such social networking sites are beneficial for college students—Has it added a valuable element to the college experience?
Being a college student myself, my vote is yes; social networking sites enhance the college lifestyle. Facebook is a fantastic place to start networking. It can be used to help students communicate about a wide variety of topics ranging from class notes, study partners, editing a group paper online, and even campus job availability. Additionally, more and more professors are on Facebook too, and set up discussion groups or pages that can be used as part of the class curriculum.
Like Facebook, Twitter is also utilized as a platform for students to connect online. Twitter encourages students to start conversations and tweet information that emphasizes interests in a particular field. This social networking site is vital for college students to stay connected with the social media presence. Twitter can be arguably the fastest source to news information for college students. Depending on who one follows, it is quite simple to log on to Twitter and read the latest updates and gossip in a 140-character tweet.
Since many college students are away from home, another advantage of social networking sites is that it gives students the opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones. Students who might feel ‘homesick’ can keep in touch with family members and friends back home, and students who are in long distance relationships can have an easier time feeling connected.
Even more importantly, social networking sites continue to serve as a networking resource towards the end of one’s college career and after graduation when looking for a job. All of the friends one makes in college will eventually work for hundreds of different companies, which constitutes a significant network in itself. Through these different networking outlets, future employers may find themselves the perfect employee.
Ultimately, social networking sites are what students make of it. Connecting with one another online has greatly changed how students interact on college campuses in a very short period of time. Most importantly, social networking sites have become a reliable source from the education standpoint as it allows for easier access to communicate upcoming deadlines and announcements while socially the sites allow for general communication, whether it be keeping up with old friends or connecting with new ones.
What do you think? Do social networking sites add a valuable element to the college experience?