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 Recode.net. 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,” “nerdist.com,” 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.


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