Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Social Media and The University Experience

I read this article the other day about students’ lives in relation to social media sites and whether it’s got to the point of where if it’s not online then it hasn't happened or doesn't exist. All student experience is in some way connected to social media, whether that’s uploading recent photos of a night-out or creating a LinkedIn profile in the panic leading up to graduation. So I got to thinking what the university experience would actually be like without social media, because it seems that any university student without it is problematic. Most of the time it promotes the fun of university by being able to share the experience with everyone else, but perhaps it also acts as a barrier to have fun too.

Not only does social media enable you to involve yourself with university goings-on, but also allows you to keep up with friends from back home - and obviously to organise parties and other social events that occur throughout the year. But it just made me question what it would be like if we didn't have it. The pressure to keep up the online appearance of having fun perhaps also exuberates feelings of inadequacy because of the tendency to compare yourself to others. The article I read included a study done in Germany that found that feelings from browsing friends’ Facebook activity were quite damaging and could lead to undermining users’ life satisfaction.

The article also included a comment from a psychologist from The Open university who argued that although social media can be good to help shy people make new friends, it can equally damage people’s self-esteem when it comes to online self-presentation as we judge who is doing what and therefore think we aren't doing what we should be. The whole of idea of self-presentation can be tricky as people want to project a good image of themselves, yet sometimes it seems we are so concerned with that, that we don’t really live for the moment. But at the end of the day people only ever put on the good bits of their lives in order to maintain this kind of fun-living image.

It definitely has it perks for students these days what with finding jobs, sharing funny moments we've had with others and being able to stay in contact with people that we may not necessarily see everyday. And social media is almost a necessity to the student today, but like all things, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Rather than living every moment though social media, we should enjoy the experience of university first-hand rather than just through a camera lens or keyboard.




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