As I was trying to start this midterm research, I caught myself on Face book. I was looking through pictures, commenting on statuses, not even remotely engaged in finding research. This is when I decided to change my original line of inquiry and focus on how the social media affects academia and education. I bet we can all relate to a time in classes when we are checking instagram or twitter, or even texting and looking at Face book simultaneously in the library when we are suppose to be studying. It happens to the best of us, especially in this day and age. Face book had over 500 million users documented in 2011, meaning 1 in 13 people use the social media of Face book (“Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011”). The vast amount of Face book and other social media users are increasing, partly to do with our generation and the advances and accessibility to technology. As a college student who is challenged by the temptations of twitter and Face book at hand, research shows that the social media impacts education positively and negatively.
A negative effect of the large social media on education and learning is that students are tempted to multi-task; they will be checking social media sites while claiming to study. This reduces academic performance because it is almost impossible to be actually doing two things at once (Dunn). The social media has also brought upon a whole new approach to language. Much of the writing done on the social media is abbreviated and without correct grammar or spelling. A lot of students today rely too much on a computer’s spell check that student’s ability to write and spell things correctly has plummeted. In addition, the language and communicating done on these sites have caused students to avoid face-to-face communication. Students are spending more time on social media sites instead of socializing in person and this has caused students to be less effective when communicating in person (Dunn).
Private information that is posted to the social media is never anonymous even if they say it is on private settings and it can be seen even after deletion. Students and everyone connected to the social media forget to filter the information they post. Many colleges, future employers and internships are looking at your facebooks and social networking profiles before interviews. This can potentially be detrimental to your chances of acceptance now and several years down the road. 37% of employers look you up on facebook before making any decision (Messieh). Students, especially college students, need to be consciousness about the image they are creating for themselves on their social media sites.
Another negative effect the social media has on academia si that students today rely on the internet and the information displayed on social media to provide answers. This results in reduced focus on learning and retaining information (Dunn). This can also be seen as beneficial because it takes less time to get research and information. It has definitely come in handy while doing this research project. Having information handy is more time efficient and allows students to get their work done timely and in any location they want, instead of being forced to search through libraries and books.
Now let’s look on the positive side, instead of using the black board with chalk we have technology advances such as the website Prezi to efficiently relay information to students in the classroom. More and more lectures are getting posted online along with videos and podcasts on YouTube to help demonstrate a skill. In regards to YouTube, 40% of educators report having an account and 9% use it to communicate with other educators while 21% of them use it to even communicate with students (Nielson).
The social media has increased collaboration among students. This has also increased productivity (Dunn). In regards to a specific example, last semester we had a semester long business project with a random group of students. Facebook allowed us to make a group where we communicated, shared ideas and set meeting times. It was really beneficial for sharing websites and files with the group. The connections built in social media sites allow people to learn skills in creating and maintaining connections. In addition, the amount of time spent on cellular devices and on the social media and Internet familiarizes people with the newest technology. Since technology is so prominent in businesses and education it is very important and helpful (Dunn). In conclusion, the social media helps build skills that are essential for school and even after we graduate. It allows connections and creative works to be published.
Just in regards to this Writing the Mind course, our writing is done online in a blog. This is using social media in an educational way. This allows our teacher and other students of the class to see our writing and give comments and critiques on how to improve it. This helps create an audience for the students and teaches them how to write and adapt to different audiences. Technology advances have brought upon beneficial effects, along with limitations. However, with the continuous advances in technology and social media sites, it seems crucial to familiarize yourself with it. It is hard to argue that social media sites are huge distractions and contribute to procrastination but this allows students to figure out time management and setting priorities.

Works Cited
Dunn, Jeff. “10 Best and Worst Ways Social Media Impacts Education.” Edudemic. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Hepburn, Aden. “Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011 | Digital Buzz Blog.” Digital Buzz Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Messieh, Nancy. “Survey: 37% of Your Prospective Employers Are Looking You up on Facebook.” TNW Network All Stories RSS. TNW The Next Web, 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Nielson, Jonas K. “How Social Media Is Changing the Education Industry [infographic] | Mindjumpers.” Mindjumpers RSS. N.p., 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

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