Online Social Networking in College

Online social networking plays a huge part in many college students’ lives. It’s an easy and efficient way to get connect and stay connected with your peers and acquaintances. It’s a very widely used mode of communication for most young people. In fact, many young adults have accounts at multiple social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These sites and networks can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on how you use them. There are some things every college student should keep in mind in order to maintain a positive use of online social networking.

Assume It’s ALL Public Information

If you post something online, you should assume that it’s public information, no matter what your privacy settings are. You can never know with one hundred percent certainty who has access to your posts and what they intend to do with it. Be mindful of the kind of content you post and the amount of content you post online. How you represent yourself online can and probably will affect your interactions and relationships offline. Also, people can use your information in malicious ways.

Don’t Get Too Distracted

In addition to keeping track of your social network content, be aware of the amount of time you’re spending online. Facebook and Twitter can quickly go from being a healthy distraction to an unhealthy addiction. Make sure that your time online is not taking away from your priorities. Don’t let your connections on the internet keep you from making connections in real life. The convenience of sitting behind a computer screen makes it easy to forget about offscreen issues and relationships. As a college student it’s very important that you maintain a balance between the two.

Mixing Personal & Professional = Not A Good Idea

You should also set boundaries for yourself when it comes to personal and professional regarding social networking. Mixing the two can turn into a messy affair with very negative consequences. I personally don’t recommend adding employers and co-workers on Facebook if you use the site to share personal content. You can always communicate with your work acquaintances through e-mail. Also be aware of the content of your public online profiles as employers are increasingly looking to those to vet potential employees and keep tabs on current ones.

These are the potential dangers of online social networking, but there are many benefits as well. Facebook is a great way to stay up-to-date about events going on on campus and around the community. You can also create online study groups to study for an upcoming exam and keep in contact with the multitude of people you’ll meet over the course of your college experience. In the past I’ve personally used online social networking sites to share projects that I worked on with my peers, to stay in contact when my phone was out of commission, and to get notes for classes I had missed.

As young people growing up in the technology age, online social networking will continue to play a big role in our lives. Using discretion and responsibility, it can be a powerful tool that enhances our college experiences.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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