Just this year I joined the social media rat race. Before, I was an “every once in a while” Facebook user. But my life changed considerably with graduation from high school and my purchase into the smart phone generation. In the beginning I was still not too worried about my social media footprint but I began to realize the benefits and disadvantages of being connected in an environment such as this.
Following this discovery I became an avid member of facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat (along with other sites). With these new apps on my phone I began posting, tweeting, adding people, etc. I soon began to spend more time doing this than other things I found important in my life. I felt my control slipping a little bit as studying became less of a priority.
In my case I found the onslaught of social media to be a distinct disadvantage to my studying habits. According to a Nielsen Media Research Study, almost 25% of student’s time on the Internet is spent on social media. This amount may seem small but compared with the other categories (including Netflix/other movie sites, research for classes, etc.) this number is significant. This research also found that two thirds of the students in this study reported using social media during class or homework. These numbers imply that the usage of social media could be considered a detriment to students and faculty, but they don’t have to be.
Although there are many cases in which social media can hurt a student’s progress it also has helped! Many students inside the class and graduated have found that social media has helped in making social/networking connections, providing easier access to knowledge about present and past times, and giving the ability to share their ideas and content. These sites also help get important news to people that may not have been as accessible as before.
Based on research done in the past, 73% of American teens are involved in social media in some shape or form. Is this number a good or bad one? This could mean 27% of teens are not as informed as the other 73%. It could also mean that 27% of teens are better able to study based on the lack of distractions and ability to hold attention for a longer period of time. A follow up survey should, in my opinion, ask these teens their study habits and knowledge about current events as compared to those who do have accounts.
In many cases both parts of this question are valid: Are we a generation that no longer has the attention spans to study efficiently? Or are we a generation that has so many more opportunities based on the connections we make through these sites?
The answer is up to you!
Oberst, L. (2010). The 6S Social Network. Retrieved from: http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/LindsayOberst
Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The Wired Generation: Academic and Social Outcomes of Electronic Media Use Among University Students
Wang, Qingya; Chen, Wei; and Liang, Yu, “The Effectsof Social Media on College Students” (2011). MBA Student Scholarship. Paper http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/mba_student/5