In the past 10 years, social media websites have gained popularity and have become a huge part of everyday life for many. According to Statista, 22.9% of the global population is on Facebook. Over the years, it has become common to think that Facebook is considered a distraction from academic focus and students should steer clear of Facebook use while studying. But despite this common misconception, Facebook has many aspects to it that can be beneficial to students.
A SoutheasternU Reporter Survey of 30 respondents found that most students use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. . Throughout the semester, students can use Facebook to keep in touch with classmates from previous semesters and the current semester and exchange information easily. Staying in touch with friends could mean landing a job in the future.
An anonymous source said, “ Facebook can be used for the communication of ideas; when I was a student we had groups where we could collaborate on projects and if we needed additional sources. It is also great to get other explanations (aside from a professor) and to help current students.”
An second anonymous source said, “Another way that students can use Facebook to their advantage is by following educational public figures and virtual academic communities.” Students can optimize their Facebook’s to be able to see posts from these pages first and can even get notifications when an educational post is made. Facebook is optimized to show the user information they want to see via the pages or people they follow. So by following educational pages and people, students can learn from getting on Facebook.
Dr. Elizabeth Hornsby, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University says, “I believe that students should learn how to integrate social media into their academic lives as it provides them with the opportunity to develop their digital media literacy skills.”
Another survey respondent said, “If you want to use it to share ideas, stories, new discoveries, and cool things happening around the world then I think it can be a very beneficial tool in keeping people informed in an entertaining manner. It’s a tool to share information and it’s up to each individual to decide when and how they want to share information.”
Besides Facebook, other social media platforms such as Instagram can be used to the advantage of students. According to the survey, 43.3% of respondents said they use Instagram as a tool for creative expression. Instagram provides students, especially artist or musicians, a platform to be able to showcase their work. Instagram is a great tool for students to be able to market themselves visually while Facebook offers students a chance to market themselves through more dialogue and content.
It is true that social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram can be a distraction to students but it all depends on the user. One participant said, “Too much of anything can be dangerous. But, if social media sites are used carefully and strategically by students then it can be a very powerful tool in the path to success.”
Students should try to use these sites to their advantage by networking and showcasing their skills and creations. Facebook was the platform used to share the SoutheasternU reporter survey used to gather information for this blog. This is just one small example of the benefits of Facebook. Next time information is needed or second opinions, try crowd sourcing on Facebook and see how many useful responses are submitted. Remember to use social media in moderation and stay focused when signing on for information.