Social Networking and Your Education: Friend or Foe?

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Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become a part of everyday life for most college students. Not only are these sites a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but they also offer numerous games and other activities that can help take your mind off of your troubles for a little while. Still, despite the joy that social networking brings to many people, participating in these sites can be problematic if the time you spend on them is not properly monitored.

Social Networking

One of the benefits that social networking provides is the ability to keep in touch with friends and family. For college students who are away from home for the first time, this constant connection can go a long way toward making the transition easier. In addition, by connecting with classmates through social networking sites, college students can easily form study circles or ask each other questions about homework and upcoming events. At the same time, it is easy to get caught up with chatting with friends while the homework sits off to the side and remains untouched.

Another benefit to social networking sites is that they offer the ability to learn more about the school and to get involved with school and community events. Many colleges and universities now have their own Facebook pages, as do many community organizations and businesses.
By adding these groups to your Facebook page, you can obtain up-to-the-minute information about the activities that are taking place at the school. Furthermore, you can expand your social network, which might include some important contacts that could help you with obtaining a job
in the future.

Of course, connecting with schools, organizations and businesses could have a negative effect if you do not handle yourself properly while using social networking sites. Remember, anyone who is on your friends list can access your profile as well as the comments that you make. Even if you have certain items set to private, there is still a possibility that your information can be accessed and come back to haunt you later.

In order to avoid the potential downfalls of using social networking sites, keep the following tips in mind.

Limit the amount of time you spend on social networking sites by allowing yourself to spend only so much time on the sites each day.
Turn off the chat feature on social networking sites so you don’t get caught up in conversations with friends while using the site for academic purposes.
Keep personal information and extreme opinions off of your profile and avoid discussing them in an open format that can be read by others.