Social media in college life

Alex Willis                                                                                                                  10/17/18

Social Media in the year 2018 has become a normal thing to people of all ages, as its creation has grew all over the world. Its impact has led some colleges and jobs to make their students/employees have a social media account for professional or education purposes. The multi-platform availability of it makes it very easy for people to access a social media account, as many types of devices offer compatibility. Various social media platforms have given people opportunities of a lifetime as in a time before social media not many voices could be heard, while the people who misused it could be struggling.

Typically the college life of social media is not used for a professional purpose, at least for the recent high school graduates and kids that don’t take it all too seriously. Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat can be mainly used as a platform to stay in connections with past friends from high school by posting pictures. The way you present yourself on social media can be impactful in ways. Jobs tend to look up your social media accounts as they want to make sure you act professional online. If you use social media in the wrong way by just posting pictures of you and your friends drunk, jobs will see that you are not mature. The use of it that way can harm your future.

“Admissions leaders may be changing their attitudes about the appropriateness of looking at applicants’ social media accounts, a new survey finds, with a large share saying they consider it legitimate to view applicants’ social media postings” said by Scott Jaschik from inside highered .com has a valid point on how job leaders can view your accounts. Today’s generation of college kids have a lot of responsibility to prove to themselves online with the content they can post. Years ago it was easier for college graduates to hide their social life as there was no social media and the internet wasn’t as big, but now a lot of pressure is on college kids to mess up their future.

On the other hand there is more than one side to the use of social media in college, as some can see it as unnecessary, some colleges actually encourage the use of it. “Social media has been key for us and has been a great audience connector not only with prospective students but with prospective parents.” – Kayla Germain, E-Media Coordinator, The College of Saint Rose. Through the use of social media you can find an area in a college that fits to your standard and your comfort. It gives college kids a chance to have a better look at what they’re getting into. You can use social media in other ways besides posting content, you can use it as a platform for research, which in a lot of cases college kids do.

Kelsey Harrison posted an article to peace times online saying “Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, are all highly used social media platforms. The social media usage of college students has the potential to affect their grades, social-skills, and time-management skills, but it could be positive or negative effect”. College kids tend to spend a lot of time on their phone, and the most time used on their phone is the access to social media. Infinite content is posted daily onto social media and millennials are the dominant force that put out the content. The effect of staring at your phone all day can hurt social skills, and social skills are usually necessary for a job. Social media can be a real addiction and it can impact how some view the real world.

Social media can be a gift to some, and to the ones who use it in the wrong way it can be a curse. Some people with their use of social media has gotten them far in life while others it has halted their path to a career. The encouragement of some colleges to promote the use of social media has opened up opportunities for some people that may not have gotten them without the use of it, due to expanding your voice on the internet. The way in which most college kids are using social media is just for fun. Some experiment with it in a professional way, others are using it in a way that is not appropriate. Social media in college life in today’s generation has had many views, so it is college kids responsibility to treat it fairly while they still have the freedom to it.

The Effect of the Internet and Social Media on the Young Electorate

“Young people are the future” is a phrase you see touted by journalists, researchers, political pundits, and the general populous. The youth and young adult population of our country is one to have much effect on a variety of sociopolitical factors, such as the economy, the spread of information, and especially our political landscape. As older generations come to pass, more of the younger population become activated voters ready to participate on the political battlefield and this, combined with their generally fiery and somewhat indiscriminate nature make them a surprisingly powerful section of the American electorate.


Haphazard as they may seem, young people are more connected than they ever have been. The advent of social media within the last decade has catapulted the political process into an entirely new realm, as the speed at which information travels has become lightning fast where it was once comparatively slow. Social change can happen instantly, people can have their emotions and ideologies changed at the drop of a hat, and political careers can be built and destroyed overnight. Social media’s easy-access and user-driven format has created a unique environment wherein a user has the power to access and spread whatever information they like as well as communicate and discuss with other users on the information that they both consume. As the University of Arkansas summarizes: “Social media has helped increase communication and information travel internationally and across borders (All Too Easy: Spreading Information Through Social Media).”


With information being so easy to access and share, the question must be asked: are young people- the primary users of social media and the internet- more inclined to participate in politics because of how easily they can learn about it? Common sense would dictate that it is; if individuals are able to consume information and political knowledge in a matter of minutes, there’s less reason than ever that they should refuse to participate in our country’s politics. Little excuse remains in terms of “ignorance” on the part of the young electorate if you can access your politician’s policies and history with a few clicks. Not only that, but young people can interact with views opposing their own and have the ability to compare and contrast their previously held beliefs with their peers. On paper, it seems both knowledge and power are handed to young people on a silver plate…but some ideas on paper don’t leave the page.


A large problem with young voters, one that has existed for a long time now, is something called “political disaffection”. An article in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication by Masahiro Yamamoto and Matthew J Kushin (More Harm Than Good? Online Media use and political Disaffection Among College Students in the 2008 Election) defines political disaffection as “negative dispositions towards politics.” The article continues describe that cynicism, apathy, and skepticism all contribute towards the disaffection of young voters towards politics. Cynicism is represented by young citizens’ mistrust in the political system, apathy by the view of politics as “irrelevant” towards them, and skepticism by the multiple ways they can deep-dive into numerous different facets of a topic or current issue and learn more information about it than ever. Is there a string that connects all these unfortunate truths? You guessed it- social media and the internet.


Constantly stories and leaks of political corruption and cantankerous politicians flood our virtual airways on an almost daily basis, providing constant example that our political system is flawed and its flaws are only exacerbated by its frequency of failing. This is sure to breed cynicism in the minds of the developing youth, is it not? Cynicism itself leads to apathy; if our political system is corrupt and screwed up, what is the meager participation of a single young voter going to do to fix that? Finally, the mistrust of the political establishment is bound to create skepticism. A healthy skepticism is desirable for any voter but a deep-seated mistrust of the powers that be is arguably not. It’s not a stretch to think that a political system is more inclined to have a more accepting electorate than one that regards it with an air of suspicion and disbelief at every turn, especially when all of your actions can be subjected to being picked apart to the most minute of details.


This has all been framed within a lens of the internet being a harmful force towards the young populous’ desire to participate in politics. While it’s true many of us young people can feel disenfranchised by a system that we believe not to care about us, some of us find ourselves to be more inclined to participate in politics due to the massive amount of knowledge and information at our disposal. Researcher at the Appalachian State University Department of Communication Hongwei Yang conducted a study following the 2012 presidential election to see social media’s psychological and behavioral effects of young voters’ political participation. In his article, Social Media Use and Online Political Participation Among College Students During the US Election 2012, a total of 4,556 US college students were surveyed following the presidential election. The survey found that things like Facebook group participation, “political self-efficacy”, and “online social capital” were all positive predictors of political participation. They found that the “general” use of Facebook and Twitter had a positive effect on student political participation, however “extensive” use of these social media platforms had a negative effect. This could be a further indicator of social media’s ability to breed political disaffection, but the point is the general usage of these platforms encouraged more students to be politically active. Circling back to the JCMC article, it’s even described that political disaffection can create a unique outcome wherein a voter becomes more motivated to become involved, and of course this is due to information they’ve consumed via the internet.


So, what exactly is the answer to the internet’s effect on youth political participation? Like most things it can be boiled down to being predicated on a case-by-case basis- every young person behaves differently, after all. What nobody can disagree with is that young people are more versed than ever, and can store, process and even manipulate the vast swaths of information given to them through digital tubes. With this ability they can either be motivated to make their own impacts on the political landscape, or they can develop a negative disposition and mistrust towards it. History and progress moves at the speed of light in the 21st century, and the growing knowledge of the youth is something that is bound to create an even more unpredictable environment heeded by each of their uniquely-structured ideologies.


Social Media Can Actually Help Students

Written by: Mike Lemieux

Who knew that one of the biggest distractions to students today could actually be beneficial to their success? I most certainly did not. All day, every day I see my peers using social media much more than I do and it makes me wonder how well they do with their school work? It also makes me ask myself, am I not using social media enough? It turns out that social media can actually benefit a student’s success, and a school’s success.

Technology and social media play an important role in the way students communicate with each other, and the way colleges and universities communicate with students and share information online. At this point in technological evolution, social media can now even help students get accepted to college! A telephone survey run by Kaplan Test Prep said that 35% of the 365 college admissions officers surveyed said they checked applicants social media accounts. A large number of those who looked at social media, said that the review benefited the applicant. One example of this, according the Yariv Alpher, executive director of research at Kaplan Test Prep, is a student who posted to Twitter describing how she facilitated a panel on LGBTQ rights. “There are a lot of positives here, it shows diversity, it shows initiative, it shows leadership, and it stood out positively to an admissions officer,” Alpher said. Obviously grades, test scores, recommendations, and the traditional factors are going to effect a student’s admission, but social media can provide some additional clues for admissions officers seeking to get a sense of the student. Colleges are mindful of who they admit because they want to make sure the applicant can fit into the schools culture and to the incoming class community.

Prospective students now have the power to connect with a school’s campus life 24/7 through social media. School’s have taken notice of what students are looking for, and are using social media to share their campus culture. “Social media has been key for us and has been a great audience connector not only with prospective students, but with prospective parents,” said Kayla Germain, E-Media Coordinator, The College Of Saint Rose. Social media is a great way for colleges and universities to share the good that is happing on their campus as it happens which can help a school stand out from others, especially to parents. “Using social media we relay that you’re not just a face in the crowd.  With parents it’s been really helpful because they love seeing some of the more engaging activities that we’ve been doing,” said Kayla.

More and more students are using social media to ask questions and share feedback. emphasizes how important it is for a school to have a blog because it is a place where all the content can live, bringing visitors back to the website, and boosting your search engine optimization rankings. Jason Boucher, the Social Media Coordinator at the University of New Hampshire sees the value in their student blog as not only an engagement tool with current students, but also a recruitment tool to prospective students. UNH has a blog that gives students the opportunity to speak in their own words, and to be published, which is good for building their resume and getting some real-world writing experience. Prospective students and parents can read the voice of a current student and what their experience is like at the school, so it is authentic coming from an actual student.

Social media also now plays an important role in helping colleges and universities staying connected with alumni. Schools are able to share alumni’s life and career achievements through social media. By doing this, it helps reconnect alumni and help grow the school’s exposure, and also helps current students connect with alumni that are working in the same field as they desire. Colleges and Universities that are doing a great job of connecting with students also know how important it is to keep those connections after college.

In this age of technological evolution, the idea that social media only has a negative effect on students, and that some admissions officers might check an applicants social media accounts, shouldn’t be that bizarre. Today’s students have grown up communicating and sharing their lives through social media, so it only makes sense for higher education to integrate social media into their culture.


How Social Media Causes Activism Among College Students

Lorie Shaull photo

Inspired by this year’s Media Summit topic (Digital Advocacy) and the panelists, I decided to look into how college students use social media for activism, and how they move from social media activism to the real world. Dr. Latoya Lee, a professor at SUNY Oswego and a media summit panelist, brought up the concept of “slacktivism”, a term used for people who don’t actively participate in social movements. These are the people who you see on your timeline retweeting or liking posts that encourage activism, but they don’t put their money where their mouth is. Other panelists, like Gina Iliev, brought up how people need to go beyond their screens and actually go out into the world and make a change. And I do have to admit, I participate in a fair amount of slacktivism. Because of this, I wanted to see if other college students go beyond slacktivism on social media and bring their activism to life, so I could try to do the same.

Researchers Nolan L. Cabrera, Cheryl E. Matais and Roberto Montoya from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado have done research into slacktivism on social media. They found that slacktivism isn’t a new concept, and that it can actually lead to some change. The researchers found that actions that could be considered slacktivism actually helped bring awareness to issues. For example, they found that a Facebook campaign by the Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook that encouraged users to simply change their profile picture to add a red logo in support of gay marriage helped bring the issue into public discourse and bring further awareness. The researches found many other studies that showed that people who participated in forms of slacktivism, such as sharing videos online, were more likely to participate in activism offline as well. They came to the conclusion that the digital age we’re in can play a central role in student activism, and lead them from their screens, to the streets.

In 2015, Janel Davis from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on black college students from Atlanta who rallied together to stand against racial injustice. How did they do this? By using hashtags on social media, like #AUCShutItDown and #ATLBSU (Atlanta Black Student United), they formed a community that would stand together in the battle against racial injustice. Students from different colleges all over Atlanta could connect in ways that they couldn’t before because of social media. And they got students to move past their screens and actually come out and rally for their cause. They got students to move past their slacktivism and participate. Students involved believe that social media is the new door-to-door petition. They feel that they share the same passion activists from the 1950s and ’60s, but show and participate in new ways due to the influx of social media.

Kristin LaRiviere, Jeanette Snider, Alison Stromberg and KerryAnn O’Meara researched activism and social media use at the college level in their article “Protest: Critical Lessons of Using Digital Media for Social Change”. They gave the example of Sharon Joy Showalter, a woman unhappy with the 2010 Virginia attorney general’s stance on rescinding sexual orientation from nondiscrimination clauses at Virginia Commonwealth University. Showalter created a Facebook page on March 6, 2010 called “VCU says NO to Ken Cuccinelli’s Discriminatory Letter” to express her concerns and rally those who felt the same way as she did. The researchers found that within hours of Showalter’s first post, people were already commenting on the page, and roughly 48 hours later, she was updating the page with news of forums being planned to discuss Cuccinelli’s statement. By March 10, 2010, students were holding rallies and protests against Cuccinelli. In just 4 days, Showalter was able to move students from Facebook, to rallies. The researchers attribute this rapid move from online to offline to social media. They say that in the 1960s, student activist groups had to communicate their ideals with leaflets, newspaper articles, and face to face meetings. But with the rise of the Internet and social media, what could take weeks in the ’60s now only takes a few hours. In the case of VCU and former Attorney General Cuccinelli, the instantaneous nature of social media allowed students to directly comment on Cuccinelli’s social media pages and join Facebook groups with people who felt as strongly as they did about this issue.

I think students want to be actively involved in the world around them. We can see and recognize when there is injustice in the world, and we feel compelled to do something about it.  We want to be activists and participate in rallies and protests, but we can also see the impact social media use has on causes. It allows us a space to gather and spread our message across the world. By using social media, causes can inspire people hundreds of miles from them to make a change in their own community. We use social media for so many other things in our lives; why not activism?

From Sharing Social Media, to Sharing Space

If you’ve ever lived in your college’s dormitories, think back to your first year. Ah yes, the feeling of finally being able to live alone, sort of. Your school pairs you up with a random person, and you want to get to know them. Now, I don’t know what people did before social media came about, but I know that if I had been paired with a random roommate, I would have stalked all of her social media to see what I was getting myself into.

It’s interesting to me that in this day and age, our first instinct when we meet a new person is to look them up on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform to get an idea of who they are. This all goes back to how we brand ourselves through social media. What we post says something about us, and can alter someone’s first impressions on us. Whether it’s meeting your roommate online, or reconnecting with an old friend, we all tend to make initial judgements based on how people look online.

This is Tara (left) and Mai (right). They study at Macalester University in Minneapolis, MN. Tara is originally from Brooklyn in New York City. She hopes to study business communications and asian studies. Mai is from Thailand, and grew up in Minnesota. She hopes to study neuroscience. They both met through their school’s class of ’22 page on Facebook. Tara felt she needed to, “enhance my persona on social media to give people the impression that I’m serious” even though she describes herself as a bubbly person. Mai was “self conscious about my acne” and was hoping no one would judge her based on it. After they messaged each other on Facebook for the first time, both girls admitted to having spent a good amount of time looking through each other’s profiles.

Follow Mai on Instagram! @maimouaa

“My initial thought of Tara was that she was a very academic person (Facebook reaction) … this girl has a good balance of being scholarly and being artsy–cool. (Instagram reaction)” Mai said. While Mai isn’t the type to create expectations of someone before meeting them, she mentioned that Tara is a wonderful friend/roommate and hopes they build a deeper relationship. “Based off her social media she seemed really artsy and family oriented. She had artsy photos of herself and food. She seemed really fashionable and very close with her siblings. I could tell she was nice and not that fake nice that people put up a lot and are actually very tough and cold.” Tara said.

Follow Tara on Instagram! @tararen.ko

Mai had met all her expectations, except one: “Haha I guess the only thing that was different was her height!” Tara boasted about how she loves how artsy Mai can be, especially in their room. Both girls talk about how they actually have made so many plans together as friends. “We have the same friend group so it’s fun.” (Tara) Between studying, clubs, and activities, “Hopefully, we don’t drown in schoolwork and actually have time to do what we planned.” (Mai).

This is Lawrence (left) and Dennis (right). They go to Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Both of them are from New York City and study engineering. To my surprise, the two of them had known each other as kids, but didn’t reconnect until high school, and now they’re college roommates! Lawrence mentioned that Dennis had moved away when they were kids, and was surprised to see him again in high school. “I honestly was really glad to find out I wasn’t going to enter high school alone.” (Lawrence) However, with time comes differences. Not in a bad way, but things in life don’t always stay the same. “Dennis was always a shy guy, not too social with others, and was generally a pretty quiet guy. I wanted to be able to have a roommate I can talk to and be able to help each other out. I’m glad to have a roommate like Dennis because we both come from similar backgrounds.” (Lawrence)

Follow Lawrence on Instagram! @law_deo

He had an expectation of Dennis that things would be the way they always were. During their first few months of college, they have gotten to speak everyday and get closer as if they were kids again. Lawrence sometimes feels bad though: “The difference in personality is hard
sometimes because I feel bad when i’m interacting with my friends and I know Dennis is in the dorm playing games. I do try to make the effort to invite him out, but he chooses not to most of the time.” Dennis on the other hand was different from Lawrence in multiple ways. “While I don’t have much of a social profile, I do tend to overthink about things I put out online as I am aware that anyone could be looking at it.” He looked Lawrence up on Facebook after reconnecting, and “wasn’t too surprised as I’ve known him for a long time.”

“Sorry, I don’t have much of a social media footprint!” -Dennis

Dennis was able to see that Lawrence was outgoing and social, but “being together in a dorm, I learn more about his interests in subjects like sports and video games.” Lawrence and Dennis have both felt great about their relationship as roommates. “Things that we do together sometimes be getting a meal or tagging along with friends.” (Dennis) “We both mutually know that we can talk to each other
about whatever and know each other’s boundaries.” (Lawrence) They’re able to get meals together in the dining hall from time to time, and are able to respect each others boundaries socially.

As humans, it’s normal to have these initial thoughts about each other. While our social media profiles are just a seed of who we really are. These four were able to see past each other’s profiles and see the friend that come with their roommate. Hopefully, they will be able to live a comfortable first year together. Good luck to them!


Differences In Social Media Use

Social media is a huge aspect of most people’s lives in college, and it certainly takes some hours out of my day. Especially when I do homework, I like to put in some social media brakes. But, social media has pros and cons, like most things in life. However, I find it interesting what other college students think about the different aspects of social media, and how they use it. There are several ways to look at social media, and how it affects everyday life. In this blog-post, you will get to know three different approaches to social media.

First out is Max, he is a 24-year-old exchange student from Germany. Before interviewing Max, I knew that he isn’t the most active social media user. I asked him straight up what he thought about social media. And, as a stereotypical German guy, he responded in a very short and concise way, “Good and bad.”. After explaining to him that I needed some more information in order to provide a more in-depth look about his thoughts on the matter, he took some time to think. Then he said, “I miss the time where I could bike over to a friends house and ask if he wanted to do something fun. I would rather go talk to people in real life instead of talking to a screen. When that is said, social media also provides a platform where I can communicate with my friends at home.
After the German guy comes Jesper, he’s 22 years old and from Sweden. Jesper is a transfer student here at SUNY Oswego. Before interviewing Jesper, I knew that he spend more time on social media platforms than Max. Both Jesper and Max use social media platforms to keep track of what their friends do at home. With that in mind, I asked him if he thought social media is important. “Yes and no. It’s easier to connect with people our age through social media because everyone is on it, but it also consumes too much time, and I feel we become more socially awkward in the real world.”.

I agree with both Max and Jesper. Especially when the nostalgia of old and better times kick in. Even though I think everyone feels that way, even my parents and grandparents have good nostalgic memories of old and better times. And they didn’t have social media until they were real adults. I don’t necessarily think the nostalgic memories is because we didn’t have social media growing up, but rather the memory of childish energy.
Today, 15 years after I had that childish energy, I spend a lot of time staring at my phone. I have realized it also takes time to adjust to the real world after a social media session. And, I’m sure other college students find it hard as well. Walking around campus, people rarely look at other people, they are afraid of eye-contact with people they don’t know. And probably 30% of everyone I see walking on campus is looking at their phone.
When I scroll through my Instagram, I see people using social media platforms to sell themselves in a professional way. Many of them are what you can categorize as social media personalities. But, do you need thousands of followers to be able to sell yourself in a professional way and make money from social media. With other words, is it possible for us regular people to make money from social media, and if yes how do you do it?

After thinking about that, I immediately called my friend Otto. This summer we had a deep conversation talking about life. He mentioned that he had gotten modeling jobs and DJ-jobs through his Instagram account. When I called him, we again talked about life and he told me that he had gotten more jobs through social media. And, that he had gotten a lot of good feedback on his half-professional Instagram stories. I asked him how much time he spends producing these stories, “It really depends on the production. If it’s for Instagram-story, I might use between 10 minutes to a couple of hours. However, the half-professional Instagram stories I post is something that I like putting down a lot of effort into. People’s attention span is so short, and that’s why I put a lot of work into very few seconds of content. As of now, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the short-but-cool stories.
I later asked him about his thoughts about social media. “Personally, I use Instagram as a promotion page of myself. I’m a DJ, a photographer and a marketing student trying to make money and land gigs. A lot of people use their Instagram for pure fun, which is totally fine, and heavy gear upgrades won’t be necessary.

Jorekstad (Instagram-story) 

As you can see, Otto has an agenda in his use of Instagram. He is interested in media, and he’s a tech-nerd. This might be a weak excuse for why he’s using social media to promote himself. But, I really think he’s onto something interesting. The way people use, especially Instagram, has changed a lot since 2012 when it was purely for fun. It is important to take advantage of the opportunities it creates, something I think Otto does.

Mental health in college


There is a mental health crisis among college students. This is mainly because college students take on a lot more stress than a normal person would. This has led to increasing numbers of suicides among college students and  students having to drop out because of mental illnesses.

In Greg Henriques article “The College Student Mental Health Crisis” he says “95% of college counseling center directors surveyed said the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern in their center or on campus. Seventy percent of directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campus has increased in the past year.” This can be caused from a few things like stress, sleep deprivation and irregular eating habits. Depression and anxiety symptoms are the most prevalent among college students.

Studies have showed while more students are seeking help, they are not receiving the proper treatment that they need. A 2010 study about mental health in college says “The high and possibly increasing prevalence and severity of disorders among college students would be less concerning if most students with disorders were receiving appropriate treatment. Even with the apparent surge in help seeking; however, multiple studies indicate that untreated mental disorders are highly prevalent in student populations.” The study found that 24% of students with depression were receiving the proper treatment and less than 20% of students with anxiety were receiving the proper treatment. Many students will set up an appointment and get diagnosed by a therapist but then won’t follow up with a psychiatrist and not receive that treatment they need. Students will site reasons such as lack of time, privacy concerns, lack of emotional openness, and financial constraints.

While there is an increasing amount of cases of mental health on campus, individual colleges have been taking steps to provide services for students with metal illnesses. SUNY Oswego has the Mary Walker health center that provides free counseling services to students. The website says “We offer a variety of services, including individual, group and couples counseling, as well as fun outreach and educational activities designed to support interpersonal growth. The CSC staff value multicultural competence and honor the individuality of each student.” Mary walker offers as many counseling services that a student needs and also can provide appointments with a psychiatrist if it is determined that medication is needed. Oswego also offers let’s talk sessions in residence halls and various places around campus 5 days a week where students can talk about any concerns to a certified counselor.  Oswego continues to educate students on mental health and ways that students can seek treatment on campus.

The Fears of Social Media

Written by: MacKenzie J Hungerford

There is an actual fear of social media by college students. This fear can derive from political campaigns, advertising, scams or even addiction. The current college student generation heavily relies on technology and social media for various purposes. This indispensable quality generates a fear of becoming addicted.

In my capstone class the other day, we were working on an advertising and marketing campaign. One of the campaigns was heavily going to be run through Instagram. A girl named Kiera Thompson in my class said that she didn’t have an Instagram. This statement made heads turn and mouths drop. As a graphic design and marketing major, it was surprising to find out that she did not own an Instagram. I decided to ask her why and her response was not what I had expected. Kiera told me that she was just too lazy to put in the time and effort to create and become invested in the platform. I then thought that Kiera would be a perfect college student to interview about social media and how it influences her life. Since, the career path she has chosen is a highly technology and social media-based field, I thought that it would be interesting to interview someone in that field that states that she is too lazy to create an Instagram. “I really don’t use social media all that much, besides for following other graphic designers and artists. I find that with this new political era upon us, I’m turned off from seeing the constant posts about it. Instead, I listen to NPR because I find it to be more reliable” says Kiera when I asked her how she felt about social media. It is proven that political campaigns take up a good majority of social media. According to Mass Media and American Politics written by Doris A. Graber and Johanna Dunaway, over 2 billion dollars goes towards presidential election advertising. This advertising is on both social media platforms, radio platforms and television platforms. 2 billion dollars can pay for a lot of social media coverage. When asked how it affects her as a college student, Kiera stated “It just takes up so much of my time when it is in my life. As a marketing major, I must be well versed in how social media functions, how people use it and what are the most popular trends”. Personally, as a broadcasting and graphic design major, I can understand the need to be well versed in all aspects of social media. There is an actual fear in going too deep into social media. The fear being, once you’re in too deep it’s hard to get out. There is an addictive quality about social media that makes it indispensable in our everyday lives. There is a genuine fear of going on it and a fear of not having it easily accessible to us.

According to Social Media: Usage and Impact written by Hana S. Noor Al-Deen and John Allen Hendricks, In the last 10 years social media has blown up to astronomical proportions. Due to this increase in affiliation with social media, our world is beginning to revolve around it. Advertising, political campaigning, marketing, graphics, journalism and many more content-based careers and majors, are now heavily relying on technology and various forms of social media. When you rely on something so heavily, there are many fears that can come about. The fear of loosing content, the fear of becoming addicted to platforms, the fear of being away from social media and the fear of debate and controversy.

I spend about twenty-five percent of my day, each day, either using social media or creating content for social media. As a double major in broadcasting and graphic design with a minor in photography, I heavily rely of technology and social media. I especially rely on social media since, one day, I would like to work as a content specialist creating content for a company’s social media platform. Since I rely so heavily on these platforms, I fear that I am wasting my time getting sucked into content. I also fear that I am not using social media as much as I should be using it. Lastly, I fear the controversy that is opened in public forums. Social media platforms allow the world to connect and, overall, that can be a fearful thing.

What a Time to be Alive: Social Media in College

Being a college student is the best time in your life to be an active user of social media. It’s a time when you don’t yet have to fill your Instagram and Twitter with professional things, but you are given the opportunity today to have a public voice and share your feelings, something that previous students, did not have.

Most college students are only using social media platforms to fill their time, and laugh over a funny cat video. That being said, students may be taking in more useful information than you think.

SUNY Oswego Professor, Jen Fogel, does not try to connect her class through social media, but rather use the information she has found through social platforms. “I use examples of media that have gone viral, whether it be photos, videos, or articles through Facebook,” said Fogel.

When asked if college students use social media in an academic way, you would think “hell no.” You fill your time with comical videos gawking at celebrity’s lavish lifestyles, but you’re doing more than that. As of 2017, 67% of people get their news from Social Media platforms, according to That’s a 5% increase from 2016, and the number will only continue to rise.

Oswego student, Madison Byrne uses Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat on a regular basis. When asked if she had any professors had incorporate social media into the classroom she said: “I had to create an Instagram page for my nutrition class… it was effective because we were all comfortable using it.” So can it be said that professors aren’t using it enough? It would appear that careers are heading in the direction toward social media.

The way that students and professors (or adults in general) use social media personally differ in several ways. Professor Fogel only uses Facebook, and says she does not post very often, but rather see what her friends share. Fogel says “I’m a lurker.” In comparison, Byrne posts on Instagram, but also follows actors, athletes, and sports teams.

Where the two are in common, is how that they both gather news from social platforms. But Professor Fogel follows organizations such as “everyday feminism,” “,” and she also follows a writer from Buzzfeed personally. Which seems to be common among adults to follow news closer than a college student.

Madison Byrne does not follow news sites directly, but rather collects her news through friends sharing videos or news stories on Twitter, or the discover page on Snapchat. The two agree that we should be using media in the classroom. Keeping up with current events, and being able to distinguish between fake news, and trustworthy resources.

While Professor Fogel does not incorporate the use of social media into her classes, her and Madison Byrne agree that college classes should use social media. With social media giving just about everyone a viral voice, it is a key skill at any age to filter what news is trustworthy.

This affects our academics and our everyday lives. Social media gives college students a voice when they previously did not have one. College students are also resorting to social media because it’s convenient and opens so many gates to friends, followers, and fans. As Professor Fogel and Madison Byrne shared their personal usage, you can see how social media has given college students a platform to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Social Media and Sorority Life

One of the most common college stereotypes people think of are the typical “frat boy” and “sorority girl”. A lot of incoming college students go into college with this dream of joining a Greek organization. I myself am a member of one of the national sororities here at SUNY Oswego; I am member of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. Both of my parents are members of Greek organizations, and my mom still advises her sororities chapter today, so it is safe to say I knew quite a bit about Greek organizations before coming to college. One aspect that I did not know, or realize at first, was how big a role social media plays in Greek organizations, at least on the sorority side of things.

I have seen first hand the role of social media in sorority life from both sides, potential new member looking to join a sorority, and member looking for new girls to join my sorority. Kali Boyer and Elliott McDonald state in their article “Social Media and Greek Organizations” that “It’s beneficial for the Potential New Members to have a page they can access that promotes the core values of the organizations so they can see what the chapters are truly like, passed the stereotypical biases.” The Alpha Epsilon Phi at SUNY Oswego Instagram is the main way we show Potential New Members who we are and our values as a chapter. The only other time we get to interact with Potential New Members is at the occasional tabling event that we do and then during recruitment, so having a page where we can interact with the Potential New Members is very important. By having a page where all the sororities can post about their philanthropy and fun sisterhood events that we do is extremely beneficial for the Potential New Members to find which sorority will be the best fit for them. New Member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, Nicole Destefano, who just made her choice of sorority this semester, said “Honestly, I did really look at some of them before I decided, and I did it because I wanted to see which group I could picture my self in.” Knowing that Instagram is the main form of communicating with Potential New Members, we want to make sure all the things we post on our Instagram truly reflect who we are and help us to stand out from the other sororities. Showing who we are on Instagram is such an important part of recruiting new members that we even have a position in our sorority that is in charge of running our chapters Instagram, she makes sure we take good pictures at all of our events and asks our sisters to send her pictures of the fun things they do. Alexa Williams, Social Media Chair of Alpha Epsilon Phi, says it can take up to 40 minutes to take a photo, edit the picture to make it just right, find a good caption, and post the picture.

Something that most people don’t know about social media in sororities is that there is a long list of rules that all sorority members must follow while using their personal social media accounts. The first of these, which to most people seems quite obvious, is that you are not allowed to post any photos of yourself consuming alcohol while wearing your letters, even if you are of legal drinking age. This rule is in place because once you are initiated as a member of a sorority, you then are a representative of that group and everything that you do and put out on social media is a reflection of that group. Another rule of social media use in sororities comes into play during the recruitment season. Each semester a week before recruitment begins, there is a period of “strict silence”. During strict silence no active member of a sorority is allowed to follow, or accept a follow request from any Potential New Member, as well as commenting on any of their pictures. This rule is in place because by doing any of these things could give the Potential New Member the idea that they would be getting a bid to join your sorority, or could be the member trying to convince them to chose to join their sorority.

The fact that there are these social media rules in place for sorority members shows how much the college environment has changed because of social media, and how different college life is now because things can be posted and seen by thousands of your peers on social media in a matter of minutes.