As social media sites continue to gain popularity and internet penetration increases, it is important to mention that social media plays a crucial part in the student's success equation. Roblyer et al. defined social media as a relationship that exists between people and a network. Despite the fact that these sites may contribute negatively or positively to a student's life, they continue to gain mass popularity and are used on a daily basis. A study conducted on Johnstone and wales university indicate that at least 45% of the students spend 6-8 hours checking their social media sites and even worse off 23% spend over 8hrs on social media. This, in the long run, creates a tendency to procrastinate school work among students and contributes negatively to their academic performance.
Social media sites, on the other hand, have a positive impact on college students as they enrich students with the knowledge and help them develop important social skills through creating and sharing content (Pempek, Tiffany, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert). Social media networking among college students has gained higher acceptance as a natural tool of communication and facilitating faster decision making. The most common social media platforms being Facebook, my space, twitter, Instagram, SimCity and world of Warcraft among others. This essay seeks to bring out an explicit discussion of the various positive impacts of social media networks on college students not forgetting to evaluate the adverse effects the platforms pose to the success equation of college students.
First, social media networks are an essential communication tool and arriving a faster and more efficient decision making (Pempek, Tiffany, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert). The use of various social media sites enables students to interact with other students and their tutors freely. In turn, this setup creates a friendly environment for both parties and students can freely communicate with their tutors without fear or hesitation. They are also able to share information, opinions, experiences as well as their emotions and personal issues with their peers and therefore able to obtain moral support. Social media networks help students to keep in touch with friends and family who may live far apart from them. We live in an era where people are so busy with life, and this makes it very difficult to have regular face to face meetings. Therefore, the use of social media bridges the gaps created by distance and busy time schedules. Social media networks like Facebook also help snap out nervousness and timidity amongst fresh college students and help them develop better interpersonal skills making them better communicators in huge crowds (Valenzuela, Sebastian, Park, and. Kee).
Social media sites can also be used for educational aid. Social media networks provide college students with a pool of educational resources (Valenzuela, Sebastian, Park, and. Kee). Unlike the traditional methods of reading through voluminous chapters, social media sites offer personalized course materials and sites from which students can access educative materials. Social media sites can also be used to enhance collaborative ability development through group discussions on the channels. For instance, the use of WhatsApp groups to disseminate information amongst a vast number of persons. Through social media sites, students can also download books in the form of pdf and also purchase others on platforms like Amazon. Other social media sites like Twitter provide students with a platform to create and share content amongst their fellows hence improving communication and facilitating the spread of knowledge (Junco, Heiberger, and Liken). Social media sites make it possible to share resources such as videos, tutorials, magazines with a click of a button. This minimizes the errors associated with mistyping of links and websites on a hardcopy since with social media sites it is easy to copy and paste. Social media sites also provide students with a platform to showcase their talents, skills, and abilities which are part of extra-curriculum activities. Whenever students are free from classwork, they can use social media as a platform to enhance their skills and abilities for example through the use of blogs and websites to create and share content that can be accessed by others and even potential employers. For example, journalism students can use social media platforms to share their articles as a way of showcasing their skills and abilities (Ellison, Nicole, Stein field, and Lampe). There is often a positive correlation between the appropriate uses of social media sites with a student's performance. It is often said that the internet is rich in resources and if utilized appropriately by college students it is likely to improve their performance. Social media acts as an essential tool for e-learning.
Social media makes it possible to review projects among students. Through the use of social media platforms, students can hold real-time discussions online and work on projects without the need to meet physically (Ellison, Nicole, Stein field, and Lampe). Social networking also makes it possible to use video conferencing to enhance collaborative participation among the students. This increases collaboration amongst students in working on projects and also promotes harmonious relationships amongst them.
Use of social media among college students serves as an open avenue to allow people to air their views freely without any fear or intimidation (Pempek, Tiffany, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert). The college management can also use social media as the tool to induce student's participation. For faster and inclusive decision making the faculty can ask questions on the university's website and allow the students to voice out their opinions. This is important at arriving at the common good and also important in increasing student's retention rates as the students feel connected to the school.
Use of social media networks, however, may have adverse effects on the student's success equation especially if there is no proper and strategic plan regulating the students use, freedom, and time spent on social media networks (Ellison, Nicole, Stein field, and Lampe). Social media use tends to cause and increase distractions among students. Most of the time that should be spent exploring educational content is instead used on social media platforms. Students more often develop a tendency to procrastinate school work and projects while caught up in social media activities. This, in the long run, affects the students' performance thereby causing their performance to deteriorate as well as the aggregate mean of the school in general. It is, however, the responsibility of the school management to come up with policies and regulations that provide guidelines on when and how the social media sites should be used. In most tertiary institutions various social media platforms are restricted to educational content alone.
Sometimes college students may use social media sites to post content that could be detrimental to the school's reputation (Roblyer et al.). Occasionally such behaviors by college students are totally out control by the management and they may not only damage the reputation of the institution but also lead to a closure of an institution. This challenge can be overcome by punishing students who violate the policies and laws guide the social media contents as a way of reminding them to remain professional and accountable for their actions. Such plans are put in place to warn college students of their freedom to create and share contents and also confine them within the right limits. The higher risks associated with such behaviors include raise of red flags to potential employers who may view the class as inappropriate for the corporate world. Most employers use social media sites to conduct their background checks during the recruitment process. This, therefore, puts students at risk of being judged wrongly for the actions by their fellows.
The last disadvantage that can be associated with social media among college students is its likelihood to stifle a student's ability to interact in person (Ellison, Nicole, Stein field, and Lampe). This is a problem common both to the society and to the schools as most of the college graduates live in a technology era where they can best express themselves on social media unlike in person. Social media channels can also result in social class divides among college students who may lead to loss of self-pride and cause intimidation among students.
In conclusion, the role played by social media among college students should be embraced and more college managements should embrace the use of social media. However, they should put into place stringent regulations and policies regulate the student's behavior and control content posted on social media sites. Social media fosters collaboration among students, enhances e-learning, makes decision making easy and sharing of content amongst the college students. The distraction that social media has on college students can be curbed through regulation of use hours and content amongst them.
Junco, Reynol, Greg Heiberger, and Eric Liken. "The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades." Journal of computer assisted learning 27.2 (2011): 119-132.
Valenzuela, Sebastian, Namsu Park, and Kerk F. Kee. "Is there social capital on a social network site? Facebook use and college students' life satisfaction, trust, and participation." Journal of computer-mediated communication 14.4 (2009): 875-901.
Roblyer, Margaret D., et al. "Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites." The Internet and higher education 13.3 (2010): 134-140.
Pempek, Tiffany A., Yevdokiya A. Yermolayeva, and Sandra L. Calvert. "College students' social networking experiences on Facebook." Journal of applied developmental psychology 30.3 (2009): 227-238.
Ellison, Nicole B., Charles Stein field, and Cliff Lampe. "The benefits of Facebook "friends:" Social capital and college students' use of online social network sites." Journal of computer-mediated communication 12.4 (2007): 1143-1168.
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