How Students Benefit From Using Social Media

how students benefit from using social mediaA lot of criticism has been leveled at social media and the effect it has on the way students process and retain information, as well as how distracting it can be.

However, social media offers plenty of opportunities for learning and interactivity, and if you take a moment to think about it, it’s not too hard to see how students benefit from using social media. As younger generations use such technology in the classroom, they remake the educational landscape.

Students are experiencing the world through more than just books and assignments; they are learning and adapting to the world using a relatively new form of communication. In a world where connections are important, graduates are coming into the workplace with a lot to offer.

But what exactly are they learning? Read on to find out.

Connections

Social media networks are designed for the purpose of communal connections. Today’s students are accessing Facebook, Twitterand even Instagram to connect and share with those around them. One of the most interesting things about social media is that users can interact and engage with each other solely through a Web presence, perhaps never even meeting in person.

Web engagement

Whether they are sharing personal pictures, links to other sites or even commenting on someone’s post, students engage, stretching beyond social interaction purposes alone. Students use social media day in and day out to interact with their peers and even teachers about class-related subjects. In a world where online engagement is important for businesses, these students are becoming experts at developing a sense of Internet presence. Not only do they know how to interact with others on the internet, they know how to use basic and even complex functions in order to do so.

Knowledge

Social media users share among themselves day in and day out, giving and receiving information at rapid speeds. This information is more than funny cat videos; they share views and opinions; tips, tricks, and even DIY projects; and, among students, helpful information for classes. Their ability to assess, analyze, retain and share information is skyrocketing and they often don’t even realize they’re developing these skills. Only people born before the Internet was invented are likely to understand the magnitude of this new style of communication.

Social Media Marketing

The advent and dominance of social media has created a new breed of marketing, which has required professionals to build and further the field. As social media users join the workforce, they bring their skills to their careers. Social media prepares young workers to become great marketers. It has become essential for major businesses to include a social media marketing strategy and students today are the people filling these positions.

While older generations might not completely understand or agree with the amount of social media activity by today’s student population, they will quickly benefit from it. As technology advances, so does the way the world works with it. Members of the young workforce are keeping up to speed with many forms of social media. Once you get a proper social media marketing strategy locked in, you’ll be grateful for the recent graduate you’ve hired to carry out the details.

4 Comments

  1. Stan Dura

    February 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

    These are certainly worthy and hopeful outcomes, but unfortunately there is little data to back them up. In some cases, actually, data suggest some negative possible outcomes. 2007 data from HERI (http://heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/briefs/brief-091107-SocialNetworking.pdf) shows that students who engage social media more often also engage in more frequent and problematic drinking habits, have trouble managing their time, and have trouble developing effective study habits. The social nature of social media may engage less professional thought and behavior than we might think or want. Professionals need to be able to manage their time well and know how to learn on their own if they are going to succeed in a rapidly changing professional landscape. So use of social media may not result in all positive outcomes, and the “sum” of its influence on any particular student is likely complex. I think it important then to be cautious and diligent when considering and reporting the impact of social media on college students, and I believe we should be very thoughtful and deliberate when we utilize it as an educational tool as many educators are indeed doing. Otherwise we are essentially assuming students are learning exactly what we would want them to learn simply by chance, and that is improbable.

  2. James Wilson

    February 16, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Stan is correct in asking for data to support the claims that social media is indeed beneficial. However the link between social media and “frequent and problematic drinking habits”.. and less ” professional thought and behavior” needs to be unpacked with some concrete evidence. I, like the author Joseph Baker, see social media as an unprecedented boon to education. I believe anyone who has creatively and meaningfully employed social media in the classroom would agree. Joseph, social media develops skills that we have not yet fully articulated, but skills that will nonetheless define the contours of literacy in the coming future. We are being asked to define success in terms of standardized tests, as this is the “data” requested by Stan. In this realm, social media remains silent. Let’s first take possession of the criterion of success (a massive undertaking), by re-imagining success in analytical form but beyond the scope of standardized tests, and the rest will be breezy…

  3. Colette Bennett

    February 17, 2013 at 7:21 am

    This is a great resource to argue for acceptable use policies at school that allow for Internet access to social media websites. I just completed professional development at a large suburban high school where blocked access to the Internet left teachers frustrated. “All these wonderful tools,” they sighed, “and we can’t use any of them in class.” My own school unblocked access to the Internet except Facebook (which the students can access anyway), and we are not frustrated. I wrote the following post as testimony to eliminating Internet filters that blocked websites that allow for the kinds of engagement you list above. I also believe access provides educators the opportunity to teach good digital citizenship and use of the Internet for productivity in order to address the concerns of commenters Stan and James: http://wp.me/p1FPEO-1cH

  4. rick ackerly

    February 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    An important message. It is of course rather obvious, but there are still plenty of people wasting their breath on how bad it is, even as they use it.