Facing Facebook in Higher Education: How and Why Students Use Facebook in College

Facing Facebook in Higher Education: How and Why Students Use Facebook in College

Karen Abney Korn (School of Advertising Art, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 53
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5174-6.ch001
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Abstract

This chapter draws upon nine months of qualitative, netographic (Kozinets, 2010) research conducted both online and in face-to-face contexts on college student use of Facebook and explores the impact this online platform has on students by studying behaviors, experiences, and perspectives of undergraduate students at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. The primary question guiding this research is: How do college students use Facebook to fulfill social needs in the creation and maintenance of community while attending college? The data consists of an analysis of transcribed interviews, email communications, and the interactive content of student Facebook users’ Facebook walls. The results indicate that students use Facebook to undertake particular tasks and toward particular ends. These include, but are not limited to: fostering and maintaining community, nurturing relationships, making public statements and protecting privacy, establishing a personal identity, building social capital, establishing cultural competency, coping, and critiquing their peers and campus.
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Introduction

Social media has become ubiquitous in the lives of college students. This research explores the impact Facebook has on college students, by studying the behaviors, experiences, and perspectives of undergraduate students at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. The primary question guiding this research is:

  • How do college students use Facebook to fulfill social needs in the creation and maintenance of community while attending college?

The methodology used in this qualitative study is a blend of netography (Kozinets, 2010) and face-to-face individual interviews. It examines their cultures as mediated and articulated online and in person. The data consists of an analysis of transcribed interviews, email communications, and the interactive content of student Facebook users’ Facebook Walls.

This study explores how Facebook shapes students’ experience of community on campus. It examines how community is defined, understood, mediated and influenced by students; and how Facebook influences their social lives as a part of the campus community. Going away to college has always been a time when young adults stepped out of the comfort zone of home and into a new community: both physically and socially (Kenny, 1987). Residential students turn their focus from their parents’ rules and programs, and begin to experience daily life among peers. They invest themselves in the community of the campus and foster new relationships (Tinto, 2006). But we also know that students need to stay connected to their home communities, as for many students, the connection to friends, family, and church is important for their persistence (Attinasi, 1989; London, 1989; Nora, 2001; Terenzini, Rendon, Upcraft, Millar, Allison, Gregg, & Jalomo, 1994; Tierney, 1992; Tinto, 2006; Torres, 2003; Waterman, 2004). Today, these relationships, new and already established, are fostered both in face-to-face engagement as well as online through social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook .

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