The Effect of Social Media on College Students Today

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1 The Effect of Social Media on College Students Today Sierra Johnson TWC- 521: Principles of writing with Technology Spring 2013

2 Social networking has become an everyday thing to many Americans, all ranging from ages 18 to 64. It is said that Americans age who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to new research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX) (Marketingcharts, 2013). Those that don t use social media networks have surveyed that they find that the average online American would spend 2 hours a day on social media sites, accessing it through computers, tablets, and/or mobile phones. Reports show specifically, among American social network users: year-olds report spending 3.8 hours a day; year-olds report spending 3 hours per day; and year-olds report spending 2.4 hours per day. In terms of the gender difference, female social networkers spend almost 40% more time daily with social media sites than men (3.6 hours vs. 2.6 hours), a finding consistent with earlier research from MyLife and from Burst Media showing women to be more active than men on social media (Marketingcharts, 2013) networks. Other interesting demographics that also emerged from the Ipsos research were that some social network users that had a low-income house hold would spend more time on social network sites, 3.7 hours, as opposed to the high household income users who spent about 3.1 hours. The level of education and type of employment and employment rank levels all have roles in how many hours were spent on social networking sites, such as those with low education levels spending more time than those with high education levels (3.5 vs. 3); business owners spending almost 50% more time than those who don t own a business (4.4 vs. 3); senior executives and decision-makers spending 40% more time than those not in those positions (4.2 vs. 3); and the unemployed social networkers spending 3.5 hours a day on social media, versus 3 hours for

3 the employed. These interesting demographic statistics for users of social media show that people spend hours and hours on social media sites everyday. It is said that roughly 1 in 5 users aged clam to spend 6 hours or more per day social networking (Marketingcharts, 2013). The rapid pace of advanced technology growing and changing has caused social network users to increase. It has been reported that in 2008 only 24% of Americans had a social media type of an account, today, about 56% of Americans have social media accounts. It has been said that using the phone, ing, snail mailing, socializing with others in person, and spending time with household members has decreased since 2006! A chart with this data can be found in the appendix section. The popularity of social media networking sites have rapidly increased within the past decade due to the use of young adults and teens being attracted to it. Teens and young adults were among the first to adopt and utilize social networking tools as ways to facilitate dialogue and develop online communities. Because social networking site usage is so prevalent among college students, there is an assumption by many professionals and organizations that they know how to employ them as strategic tools (Lewis, Unknown Date). Since the main age group of social users are proved to be young adults, this paper will look into the impact of social media and if it have an effect on young college adults as well as their personality, emotions (physically and mental states), relationships, identity, cultural, economic, professional and academics. With much information being put on Facebook, Twitter and other major social media websites whether positive or negative there has to be an effect. Being a college student myself, I am interested in knowing the statistics and outcomes of social media on college students. With college students or young adults being identified as being the majority of population on social networking sites it

4 would be interesting to see what the effects are, whether positive or negative, or if there even is an effect. Schill (2011) states that the social media sites encourage negative behaviors for teen students such as procrastination (catching up with friends), and they are more likely to drink and do drugs. However, every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in social media, such as Facebook, MySpace, World of Warcraft, or Sim City. At first glance this may seem like a waste of time; however it also helps students to develop important knowledge and social skills, and be active citizens who create and share content (Wang, 2011). Socializing through social media sites for young adults can mean that they would rather communicate online, through these sites, rather than having face-to-face interaction. Social media can easily withdraw an individual from real face-to-face interaction by them accessing these sites through mobile devices. A study by Yazino found that when there is an opportunity to see people face-to-face, on weekends for example, up to 11% of adults prefer to stay home and communicate on their devices instead (Fowlkes, 2012). This information has stated that although socializing through social media sites may be quicker for young adults, it may also harm their face-to-face interaction abilities with others. Social networking sites have made it much easier for students to communicate with friends and family. Like Baym et a. (2007), the study found that with so many people having busy lives or having friends and family that live far away, these sites have helped to maintain contact with those individuals that students rarely saw. Results also showed that social media has helped maintain contact with people who the students saw more regularly. These websites have helped students better communicate with others face-to-face as well. A particular interesting finding was that most college students rated the quality of communication as good, but not excellent, fair, or poor. This

5 indicated that quality of communication over the computer is not ideal, but it has positive qualities to it (Sponcil, Unknown Date). Emerging adulthood, which is described as ages 18-25, is a combination of the late adolescence and early adulthood stages previously identified. It is a time where individuals are trying to find a sense of self-worth while exploring possibilities of love, work, and worldviews. Identity formation occurs during emerging adulthood as young adults are figuring out who they are as a person. Since this is a time of exploration and change, individuals may seek peer feedback to help foster their self-identity. Emerging adults use social media communication methods as they make life long decisions for themselves. Social media allows an outlet for identity exploration to occur through peer feedback and strengthening of relationships (Sponcil, Unknown Date). Being at a delicate age of learning and experimenting, social media sites may help young adults find sense of what they are and help them to mature in ways that only other young adults are able to. Social media networks offer a straight forward way to converse with peers and get peer feedback, as well, which may influence a young adult s self-esteem (Sponcil, Unknown Date). The uprising of social media has caused employers and even universities to judge a student by investigating and checking their social media profiles. A new Kaplan Test Prep survey of 350 US college admissions officials reported that 27% of them Googled applicants (up from 20% in 2011) and 26% of them checked Facebook. Figures have risen from only 1 in 10 admissions officers reportedly checking applicants social networking pages in Of those who checked, 35% said they found information that negatively impacted an applicant s change of acceptance, a significant increase from 12% in 2010 (ICEF, 2012). Young adults are most likely to post inappropriate photos (such as nudity, alcoholism, and the use of drugs), statuses that make them wonder about individuals and their activities, which may display illegal activities. It is

6 said that with regard to college admissions, the traditional application the essays, the letters of recommendation represent the polished version of an applicant, while often what s found online is a rawer version of that applicant (ICEF, 2012) which shows that college admissions are out to find this information and get to know their applicants based off of this information they assume is not being searched for. Using social media in a negative way may affect the start of being a successful person for a prospective student. As college admission offices deny students or accept students based off of what the Internet reveals, once college students graduate there is sometimes another online investigation done by employers. It is said that employers are actually searching through social sites to find prospective employees by looking for a person s creativity, any job-related interests as well as learning about any job experiences they may have. Jobvite (2011), a company who sells proprietary recruiting technologies, after conducting their annual social recruiting survey with over 800 responders (mainly human resources and recruiting professionals) found the greatest evidence that the social recruiting phenomenon is on the rise as well as confirming that the upward trend will continue. The increased interest in social media recruiting maybe explained through success many responders have claimed. According to the survey 58% have successfully hired through social networks. It is important to mention that LinkedIn may be the driving force in success as the popularity was reported to have increased from 78% to 87%. To clarify even further, 94% of responders said that they hired from LinkedIn (Betances, 2012). A survey showed that 72% of advertising and public relations firms were using social networking sites to recruit future employers. Attracting these potential employers using social sites may be a positive thing for good socializers out there, but what about the bad and inappropriate posters and likers of the social networking world? The dilemma

7 lies in what the potential recruiter may find on social sites, as there is a chance the information found can also be hurtful to the prospective candidate. The recruiter may learn candidate s personal opinions or private thought on religion, politics, and other areas. Through pictures and comments the recruiter can also learn candidate s interaction in social situations. All information which could be potentially be viewed by the recruiter could create a negative impression or worse and opportunity to discriminate (illegal) against the potential candidate. As the potential job responsibilities increase (for example CEO, CFO) what is found on social websites about the candidate may become even more relevant for the employer as well as the candidate (Betances, 2012). Revealed information that is found online by employers could ruin a future with companies if used negatively and in inappropriate way in the eyes of the recruiter. After reviewing and researching the effects of social media on college students it has come to my understanding that social media can have a positive effect on college students who choose to use it appropriately and to their advantage. It is up to the user to decide if they want to engage with others positively or negatively. Positively being that they talk about their job, school, and people they surround themselves in a caring and positive way. Choosing to speak negatively could result in a situation where another viewer may view this information the wrong way or take you as a different personality then what you really are. Now the question is, are you going to choose use social media as an advantage against others?

8 Appendix: (Fox, 2012)

9 Resources: Betances, Damaris; Solarczyk, Robert; and Bellows, Cathy (2012). Personal Social Networking: Affects on Companies Hiring Decisions. Retrieved from: =mba_student Fowlkes, Jasmine (October 2012). Opinion: Why social media is destroying our social skills. Retrieved from: Fox, Zoe. (2012). This is How Much Time You Spend on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. Retrieved from: ICEF. (2012). The increasingly negative impact of social media profiles on student admissions. Retrieved from: Lewis, Bobbi; Nichols, Cynthia (Unknown Date). Social Media and Strategic Communication: A two-year study of attitudes and perceptions about social media among college students. Retrieved from: ols.pdf MarketingCharts (2013). Social Networking Eats up 3+ Hours Per Day For The Average American User. Retrieved from:

10 Sponcil, Megan; Gitimu, Priscilla. (Unknown Date). Use of social media by college students: Relationship to communication and self-concept. Retrieved from: Wang, Qingya; Chen, Wei; and Liang, Yu (2011). The Effects of Social Media on College Students. Paper 5. Retrieved from:

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