How Facebook Helps Students Adapt to College


For today’s students, social media isn’t just a diversion, it’s a support system, says a paper exploring the role that Facebook plays in helping students adjust to campus life, from Collin M. Ruud (postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), “Social Networking and Social Support: Does It Play a Role in College Social Integration?”.

Mr. Ruud has been observing the effects of social media for years. He was an assistant residence-hall manager when social-networking sites first started to take off, and he was immediately interested in how they might affect student development.

For his recent research, Mr. Ruud conducted online surveys, collecting 159 responses from undergraduates at an unnamed flagship university in the Midwest. He identified a strong link between social-media use and feelings of belonging to the broader campus community.

Mr. Ruud found, as he expected, that students today spend more time on Facebook than they did in 2007, and that more students have made Facebook part of their daily routines. “It’s just part of what we do now,” he said.

But there was a more surprising finding, too: Students who used Facebook to keep in touch with high-school friends reported feeling stronger connections to their college communities. Mr. Ruud said he’d had a feeling there might be a link there. When he got the numbers to back up that hunch, “it was like an alarm going off,” he said.

On its face, Mr. Ruud said, it makes no sense that students feel more connected to their colleges when they continue to interact with friends from high school. But look closer, he said, and there’s a logic to that link. Facebook acts as a support network for students. A virtual network can help college students bond with high-school friends who are going through the same process of adapting to life on other campuses, Mr. Ruud said. With social media, all a student has to do to feel supported is log in.

Now that Facebook has become so ingrained in daily life, “we’ve got all these student-development theories” he said, and “is technology going to change the way students develop socially?”

 

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Facebook Using Social Sciences


CreepTicker

A few months ago, Bonnie Tsui wrote a piece over at Pacific Standarad on Facebook’s Compassion Research Day. 

According to Tsui, the social media giant has brought together social scientists from across the Ivy League to help it better understand how people interact online. 

Specifically, Facebook was concerned about anti-social social networking behaviour. How can users better communicate their dissatisfaction with unflattering pictures? How can we help teens cope with bullying? 

On one level this is all great: Facebook fine tunes its tools so that users are better able to voice their concerns. However, I notice that the newly developed solutions usually involve deeper investment in Facebook: sending messages to other users, opening up conversations with other user. 

“The changes have more than tripled the rate at which people send a message directly to another user asking for a photo to be removed. And of those requests, 85 percent of the…

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10 Simple Ways to Become a Productivity Dynamo

Simples rules to simplify work, office and organizations

Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?


As my sixth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share an article I read this morning regarding the social (or anti-social) outcomes that come with the frequent and constant use of the smartphone and other mobile gadgets.

Check it out here: Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it

I also suggest you to watch this brilliant TED Talk related to the matter:

If on one hand “smart technologies offer the possibility of instantaneous and continuous global communities where knowledge is shared, opinions are contributed, relationships are rekindled, expressions of support are enhanced and social movements are spawned”, on the other hand, regarding recent studies, there are more negative sides or the “smart” coin.

According to a new study released by Virginia Tech (The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices) – examining how “distracting digital stimuli” undermine the character and depth of our face-to-face interactions” -, your attention is divided socially even if you’re not actively looking at your phone, saying that the mere presence of a cellphone or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy”.

The authors of the study argue that “networked technologies let us manage several loyalties – work, family, friends – at once“, but they also have a negative effect, breeding “a persistent state of ‘absent presence’ (…) a technologically mediated world of elsewhere“.

For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write. The phone becomes “representative of people’s wider social network and a portal to an immense compendium of information.” (A previous study by two of these researchers found that people checked their phones every three to five minutes, regardless of whether it rang or buzzed.)

The researchers write in the study that “individuals are more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner’s voice, and have less eye contact”.

According to post-modern and contemporary studies these new global communities, gadgets and social medias deserve closer and deeper examination, they may even emerge at the cost or at least some sort of deficit of face-to-face interpersonal relationships.

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,

Pedro Calado

The Plasticity of Networks


Technopreneurph

A good friend and business colleague once regaled me with his definition of a good corporate lawyer: “A good lawyer never says ‘no’; she says ‘here’s how’.” I thought this was an interesting and telling description – not because it conjured up creative interpretations of the law and loop-hole sleuthing corporate counsels – but that it imagined a seasoned practioner who understood the plasticity of her infrastructure (in this case the law) and the end goals of her client and therefore would often find innovative solutions that yielded business advantage. Plasticity in this context means that a seemingly rigid structure, like the law, can be deformed to meet a new need. Examples of this range from the mundane structuring of contracts to limit the downside of risky deals to the industry redefining methods of companies like Uber that challenge conventional practices and laws.

The law and the network – both…

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Researchers Get Access to Behavioral Data from Google, Facebook, Reddit, etc.


Gigaom

Whatever outsiders may think of online communities like Reddit, Imgur or Twitch — the video-game streaming site Google is said to be acquiring for $1 billion — there’s no question they provide a fascinating window into the ways people behave online, like a massive human Petri dish. Now, the three sites have formed a partnership to provide internal data to researchers who want to understand those communities better. The consortium is known as the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership, and will offer its data to universities and other institutions free of charge.

It’s a serious effort, but it wouldn’t be faithful to the Reddit ethos if it didn’t involve some sort of nerdy in-joke — hence the fact that the group’s name is abbreviated as DERP, a term commonly used on Reddit and other online communities to refer to a mistake or screw-up. In addition to Reddit, Imgur and Twitch…

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Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites


digiphile

This morning, I read an interesting reflection on dealing with online cruelty in the New York Times by Stephanie Rosenbloom:

In the virtual world, anonymity and invisibility help us feel uninhibited. Some people are inspired to behave with greater kindness; others unleash their dark side. Trolls, who some researchers think could be mentally unbalanced, say the kinds of things that do not warrant deep introspection; their singular goal is to elicit pain. But then there are those people whose comments, while nasty, present an opportunity to learn something about ourselves.

Easier said than done. Social scientists say we tend to fixate on the negative. However, there are ways to game psychological realities. Doing so requires understanding that you are ultimately in charge. “Nobody makes you feel anything,” said Professor Suler, adding that you are responsible for how you interpret and react to negative comments. The key is managing what psychologists…

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