Social Media, an Easy Connection for Students Living in the Sticks
Unity College, a small environmentally focused liberal arts school hidden within the forested back fields of central Maine, may be out in the middle of nowhere, however it’s students are still connected to the rest of the world. High rates of social media usage among college students is as common as cheap tapestries hung up on dorm-room walls. After speaking with 3 separate students, it was clear to say that Facebook is their go-to for social media.
Junior Environmental Policy student, Savannah Sprague told me “I mostly use Facebook, almost absent mindedly. I never feel like I’m really on it, but I’m always scrolling through it — it’s a time sink.” Anya Samiljan, Senior Captive Wildlife Care student said close to the same idea about Facebook giving an outlet for the drooling zombie within us all “I see it as a constant stream. If there’s 10 minutes before class, I might as well kill 10 minutes by looking at how sad other people’s lives are.” Alex Howe, Senior Adventure Recreation student told me that Facebook is literally his only way of communicating to his friends and family while at college “I got a new phone, and this one doesn’t get reception up here so I use the wifi to contact friends and make plans.”
Facebook may be the most readily available social media platform, and connecting place, however both female students who I spoke with use twitter and instagram pretty frequently as well. Samiljan told me “I use twitter once a day to keep tabs on my sister. We don’t talk much, but she uses twitter enough to give me a feel about what’s going on in her life.” I found this family connection to be both adorable, and an eye opening message about millennials: we have grown up around social media to a point where we have become comfortable using the platforms as a substitute for physical and vocal interaction with loved ones and acquaintances. Sprague told me her use for twitter “I use Twitter, only because I think I’m really funny. It’s highly unprofessional so I keep it private.” Social media grants self expression to these anti-communicative students — it allows an open door to let others know what they are interested in.
Not all students use Facebook to aimlessly scroll, or twitter to make funny jokes with friends. Howe told me that he gets the bulk of his news from Facebook. Facebook and instagram can be used as mass marketing platforms for events or subjects in particular areas. Sprague has used her facebook account several times to create and post events for her accredited internship, and the Activists Alliance club. These events have let students in the area who otherwise do not know of an event or wouldn’t want to put the effort into learning more have the opportunity to join in on something that they might really enjoy. These media connections make the hectic social and professional life of college student much simpler to organize and balance their busy social lives with outside news, and local community happenings.