Social Networking Sites Among College Students

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There are many different types of social media sites that are used today, and one of the most prevalent age group that uses these sites are college students between the ages of 18 and 25. Throughout my time in college I have become accustomed to and have experience in using many of these sites for not only socializing with my friends and family, but also for work and for uses in school and the classroom.

I, as well as my friends and classmates, have grown up in a generation where being digitally savvy is considered the norm and if you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, and 10 other social networking sites (SNS) you are considered weird and different. I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone in college who doesn’t have or has previously had a Facebook account; and why any of them got rid of their account is for one of two reasons: to apply for jobs, and as social experiments to see if they can go without it for a while, but I’m not going to get too far into that.

Being considered “digital natives,” this generation of college aged students don’t only use social networking sites for digitally hanging out with their friends, but have the knowledge and ability to utilize these sites for everything their worth. Whether its creating connections and looking for a job on Linkedin, showing off personal works of art and design on Tumblr, or simply browsing the web and sharing interests on sites like StumbleUpon and Pintrest, there is a social network site for anything that you would want to do.

Any article you read, video you watch, and picture you look at contain links to easily share whatever you are doing across a wide range of various sites including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Reddit. These sites make it just one click share_bar1away from letting thousands of people the opportunity to see what you are doing. Many people share videos, articles, and pictures and it gives the opportunity to view something you might not have originally and open you to a site you haven’t been to before. These tools are good for college students because they are always finding new interests and always want to share everything they do with everyone they know.

According to Ken Burbary, a Digital Marketing Analyst, 35% of Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 25, which is 15% higher than the next highest age group of 26-34. There are a lot of ways in which students utilize Facebook and the tools it possesses. One of the major uses is for marketing purposes. Anyone can create a page/group/profile for any product and it gives easy access to millions of users to be able to see the page. Typically college students would use Facebook pages to promote a band, show off they’re artwork and invite friends to events they sponsor.

Other than advertising and marketing, college students use Facebook for school purposes. There are Facebook groups for college class by year, such as Ramapo College of New Jersey Class of 2014, which many students utilize to seek help from other students on certain topics. Also, I have no experience first hand but through research I have found that some specific classes like “MATH 101” have groups in which they discuss homework and other assignments. Groups are also a great way of communicating within a club or organization; they help let the entire organization know about events, meetings, and its easy to post almost anything in the group (link, picture, video, etc.).

Twitter is a little different than Facebook, but still does the basic functions and 29% of 18-29 year olds are active on the site according to a study done by the Pew Research Center. Similarly to Facebook, a lot of advertising takes place on Twitter. Companies and brands can create an account and tweet new products, offers/deals, and just random thoughts and quotes to keep consumers interested. Fifty-two percent of Twitter users follow a brand or product with Nike being the most popular out of any of them. Also like Facebook, college students can connect with their friends and have opportunity to interact directly with nike-rsvp-twitter-00celebrities with 50% of college students with a twitter account following a celebrity. Another way college students make use of Twitter is through promotion and the ability to “retweet” someone and share their tweet with all your followers. Through the “retweet” feature, a tweet by a person or company is easily reposted to more users and tweets get up to 100 retweets depending on who it was tweeted by. One tweet with at least 100 retweets by people with at least 100 followers each makes that first tweet viewable to more than ten thousand people. Just like other sites Twitter is simple to use and that’s just the way the users want it.

I’m going to change the pace a little now and go into some sites that are no so much about the interaction between users and more about the content that the users post and create. I’m talking about sites where you are free to express yourself and show the world, well internet I guess, what you are doing and what your really like. I’m talking about WordPress and Tumblr. I have used both of these sites in a college classroom so I know first hand that students use them.

WordPressWordPress is a free software where you can create a custom website or blog. As far as college and college students are concerned, WordPress is used in many different ways and for many different purposes. Professors can create a site for themselves and have an easy way to post information about the class and assignments for the students. It is an easy site to use and a good way for teachers to communicate with their students. Another way that students use WordPress is for personal blogs or websites. Because it’s free and so easy to use, students can create a website/blog for just about anything and make them either private or public.

College students use Tumblr to display mostly pictures and small blog posts on the web. They can follow other users and view their posts similar to Twitter. Typically it is used to display personal works of art or any other image that was found on the Internet. Tumblr is also used within the classroom. It could be used in the same way in which WordPress is used. I have had a class in which we submitted all our work onto Tumblr for the teacher to see and grade it.

Through experience and research, I have found that students usually enjoy using social media sites in the college classroom. Many have found it much easier to stay on top of their work, and it puts all their work in an organized space to be viewed.

The last form of social networking sites that college students use are some of they’re favorites. These sites have been enjoyed by students for years and have helped students procrastinate doing work for hours at a time. These sites are considered “discovery engines” or “social news” sites. They allow you to browse popular web pages and links for hours at a time. The two most popular of these sites are StumbleUpon and reddit. Stumble upon allows users to browse or “stumble” through millions of webpages based on the interests they have selected. Like many if not all other sites, users can share, favorite, and dislike pages and the site will adjust to their interests.

The other popular discovery engine among college age students is reddit. In a TED Talk by reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, he explains the basic process in which reddit works and how it is almost completely run by the users, which are mainly young adults between the ages 18-24. Any user can submit a link to the site and other users vote on the link on whether they like it or not. The more votes a link has the higher on the list it is; and top links make it onto the homepage. College students are known to sit on websites like this for hours and just kill time.

Social Networking sites seem to be one of the most prevalent things among college students. They are being used to do almost anything you can think of, even when ordering a pizza from Dominos can you track your order and send messages to the cook… that’s kind of extreme. With the rise in technology, and an ever-growing database to access anything via a single search it is hard to imagine what is going to happen. What will we be able to do on the Internet next? And what will be the next big social network after these die out? And I actually mean die out because you didn’t hear me talk about MySpace in this. I’m eager to see what they next wiz kid will come up with for me and other college students to waste our time on.

References

Bahk, C. M., Sheil, A., C, E. T. R.,Jr, & Lin, F. (2010). Digital media dependency, relational orientation and social networking among college students. Communications of the IIMA, 10(3), 69-78. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/859009139?accountid=13420

Matthew, & Masahiro. (2008). Searching for media complementarity: Use of social network sites and other online media for campaign information among young adults. Rochester, Rochester: doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1300694

http://www.kenburbary.com/2011/03/facebook-demographics-revisited-2011-statistics-2/

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-demographics-2012_b23387

Ohanian, Alexis “How to make a splash in social media” TED.com. retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/alexis_ohanian_how_to_make_a_splash_in_social_media.html

Readings 11: Games and Stories

The Keitai shosetsu that the Japanese people can write on their cellphones and upload onto the internet is a great use of technology and use of spare time and the cell phone. The writers can simply type a novel on they’re phone, upload it, and if its good enough it can get printed as a paper book. Although very creative, i feel that it would be easier and probably quicker if the writers were to just type the novels up on they’re computer. A cell phone is small and you can only use two fingers to type where as a computer you can use all ten fingers and it is typically easier to type especially with a larger keyboard and screen.

The We Tell Stories site is an interesting site in how you can witness the story being written live every night. I really enjoyed the format of how “Your Place and Mine” was written in which it ping-ponged back and forth between the two main characters and had an interesting twist at the end of it. If all the stories share similar format or even share a similar surprise twist as this one did i would definitely read them also.

The Hamlet facebook posts and the history of the world according to facebook statuses, are pretty creative ideas. They are simple and really convey exactly what had happened in Hamlet and throughout history, respectively. These facebook posts help you learn about what happened in quick small posts. I have also see one called NFL QB’s on Facebook where every week a fake facebook status is posted by one QB and all the other ones comment based on their performance that week.

I think that “The Future of Publishing” video is very true in which the first time through can be seen as how the older generation thinks our generation views society and culture and in some cases is true. And as the girl reads back in reverse order she tells of what a part of the generation feels and what it should feel. As she read through the first time i didnt get it because she was making herself look ignorant and stupid. But when she began to read it backwords, it all started to make sense and she reassured us that this generation is not lost and is concerned with real world problems.

I think video games for girls is just weird to begin with, and just as the models in magazines make the girls think they need to be super thin to be liked, these video games are sending the same kind of message in a different way. These games are teaching girls that they need a boyfriend, or that they need to dress better in order to be happy. I think these are horrible lessons to be teaching impressionable teens and i would not want my children to be playing games these if they are going to believe that thats how your supposed to live.

Machinima is the use of 3D graphics in video games and other avatar-based platforms to create short films. Machinimists, as they are called, edit and render filmed scenes. I have no opinion really on machinima. Its a cool aspect of 3D graphic cinematography in the way someone can play the game, film it, edit it, and then have a completely different movie than the original game that they played.

Although IBM completed a study in which they proved that MMORPG can help develop good leadership and task management skills, i dont believe that it is worth theyre time to have their workers play these games at work. I do agree that theyre study produced accurate statistics but i also feel that real life scenarios would help create better leadership skills too; because again, its a game and my little brother could play it and be good at it, but theres no way he’s leading a team in a major corporation.

Readings 10: Photography and Lying

In the article “I Was There. Just Ask Photoshop” Alex Williams explains how a women had a friend remove her ex-husband from all of their vacation and other memorable photos over the span of a 12 year marriage. This is extreme, no matter how you want to remember the memories and who was there, you will always know in the back of your mind that “he” was there on vacation with you. In the other cases where missing family members were inserted into a family wedding photo, it is nice to say that everyone is there, and in a few years no one might even remember who was there or not. In the case where the woman had her dead father photoshopped into a picture with her because they didnt have any together. Not to sound mean, but if they went a whole lifetime and have no pictures together, why now?

I think the proposed law by the french politician that would require a mark on all altered photographs is a good idea. These images are giving the public, especially young girls, a skewed view on how people should. Young children do not need to have their minds poisoned thinking this is the way that they should look and with a warning on the photo, it would make them think twice. Similarly, in Berlin, adbusting is being done by the FTW crew in an attempt to show that these ads have been manipulated. The FTW crew is adding large stickers of photoshop’s interface panels and making the image look like its on a computer screen being altered with photoshop. This adbusting by FTW crew is genius and it would be great to see more things like this around. There is also research being done in Dartmouth University to develop a computer software that will be able to tell how much a photo has been altered. This software will use an algorithm and rate a photo on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most altered.

In “The Photoshop Effect” video Tim Lynch takes us through a typical photo shoot and he he goes from the camera to the computer to touch up the pictures he just took. He goes on to explain how he would estimate that 99.9% of photos in a magazine are altered and that some celebrities have someone on their staff who alters all their photos. Similar to that, H&M has admitted that they use digitally altered bodies and paste real heads onto the bodies in order to best display their clothes.

In the “Body by Victoria” piece, the author was able to explain how he/she was able to break down the image and see exactly where the photo had been manipulated. He showed different image analysis and other photo gradients that contained certain clues that made it clear a photo had been manipulated.

 

Readings 9: Technology, Intelligence, and the Body

The cyborg article by Donna Harraway seems both cartoonish and extremely futuristic at the same time. To take a living being and inject it with certain materials in order to alter the chemical compound the change the being as a whole is an aspect of God, and something that i dont think humans should play around with. Not only is doing on animals wrong, but it will get to the point of transforming humans and making the super soldiers, and then who knows what is next. Would you want to live in a world where cyborg super soldiers are waling around?

In the article about second life, it tells the story of a man who has become so obsessed in the game, that he’s gotten married in the game, while he still has a real human wife in the real world. I think that that it would actually be considered cheating on his wife, but it is the same concept as if a husband is texting other women and never doing anything with them. I think for the most part that its just really creepy being in a fictional relationship like that on an online role-playing game.

In Korea, they have boot camps to battle internet addiction for young children. These children are put through military style activities and obstacle courses and gets it drilled into their heads to break the addiction. Boot camps are simply not the answer to break these addictions. They are a more physical rehab center, and even rehab seems over the top for internet addiction.

I think the 3-D Avatar article by John Tierney is very interesting and plausible. What the scientists are talking about doing with avatar technology seams so futuristic and almost not feasible, yet they say we could be doing it within the next 5 years. Also if they made changing the settings and features as easy as it makes it sound, that would not be a benefit. Its all great concepts and ideas but i cant possibly see it ever coming fully together; t least not in our lifetime. How could society benefit from entire classes of students and even teachers not going to class and it just being simulated instead?

Readings 7: Privacy, Surveillance, + Exhibitionism

Jennifer Ringley took part in the early stages of live webcams in the late 90s and was one of the first people to be streaming their entire lives over the internet. This new art form was entertaining to a lot of people seeing how she showed everything over her webcam including nudity and sexual relations. She took a form of art that anyone with a computer and a webcam can do and made a living out of it receiving up to 4 million viewers daily. Would you ever want your life to be broadcasted over the internet for everyone to view?

Technology might have taken it too far when it comes to posting a location on pictures. As described in “Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live,” Twitter photos can contain a geotag which includes the longitude and latitude of where the photo is taken. Most people dont know about this, and this can cause danger. In a situation like Adam Savage’s where he posted a photo and said he was off to work, someone who now knows where you live and that your not home could come break into your house. I didn’t know that these geotags were that specific but i know that I do not have locations on my twitter account. After learning this information how cautious will you be when it comes to location services on social media sites?

I think people who would give their password to their boyfriend or girlfriend are just creepy. I guess its a personal thing that i dont want anyone especially a significant other being able to keep that close track of everything that i do. Even the part of just giving out a password,  because me as well as other people i know and im sure many other people have the same password for most if not everything. To have to then go ahead and change your password for email, facebook, twitter, bank account, computer login, etc. would just be an unnecessary hassel that i know i would not want to have to do. In what circumstances would you ever share a password with someone?

I think it is amazing as stated in “Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone” that with the use of todays technology anyone in a single photo or video that goes up on the web can be identified. No matter what the photo is, there is someone that would be able to identify you. In the Vancouver riots many people were convicted of crimes because of being identified in amateur photos and videos that had been taken. How would you feel if you have been convicted of a crime because you were identified in an amateur  photograph that was taken?

Readings 6: Algorithmic Culture

In “How Computers Know What We Want — Before We Do,” Lev Grossman discusses the different recommendation engines that are on the web and what different components make them up. It starts off talking about pandora and how there is a very intricate algorithm that goes into matching similar songs with each other. I set of 400 attributes can be attached to a certain song and having similar qualities creates similar song selections. Grossman also mentions Netflix’s recommendation engine and how it is mostly user base with its rating system. How would you rate the recommendation engines of online websites?

“Amazon’s recommendation secret” is very similar to the above article in which it shortly explains Amazon.com’s recommendation engine. They have recommendations such as “customers also bought” and “frequently bought together.” While these are automated, there are also manual emails that get sent out based on what categories a customer qualifies for. Amazon also has an add on feature which displays small impulse items at the checkout similar to candy in a supermarket. What do you think is the best feature of amazon’s recommendation engine?

“Roommates Who Click” talks about the process of first year roommate selection. Some schools do completely random, while others administer a personality test and match up similar students with each other. Schools that dont allow personality tests do allow students do request certain roommates and students use sites such as URoomSurf and Lifetopia to find roommates that are compatible to them. I have no experience with having a random roommate of having been matched up with someone else because i requested to live with 2 friends i went to high school with. Given to chance to do it again, i might take the chance and get random roommates just for the experience. What are your experiences with roommates?

Noodle is a Google-like search engine and it is education specific. Instead of having to browse through pages in order to find what you are specifically looking for, Noodle has advanced search options that appear after the initial search. This allows users to bypass all irrelevant data and find exactly what they’re looking for in regards to education. Does having category specific search engines make looking for something that much easier?

In “Hitting It Off, Thanks to Algorithms of Love,” John Tierney writes about different online dating services like Match.com and eharmony.com. He notes how they use different algorithms and personality tests to attain the best possible matches. These websites match people together mostly based on certain interests and personality traits while this is not how relationships are created. Would you ever use an online dating service? why?