In 2010 Facebook announced that it had added its 550 millionth member (Grossman, 2010, p. 50). Today, just two years later, Facebook has more than 750 million members. Time spent on social networks and blogs is reportedly growing at over three times the rate of overall Internet growth (Solis, 2010, p. 19). This growth has led organizations, including colleges and universities, to redirect budgets and strategies to leverage social media tactics to better connect with key stakeholders, especially students.
Black (2010) notes that younger college-age students (18–24) use Facebook to the point where they exhibit withdrawal symptoms if they are prevented access to social media tools. This effect was so strong that it was described as an addiction. Interestingly, Facebook reported that between 2007 and 2008 its greatest growth had come from users in the 35–49 category, a subset that consists of one-third of all users (Solis, p. 19). Nielsen found (2010b) that most students consider Facebook a personal networking tool and thus tend to avoid it when communicating with organizations. When colleges and universities do use Facebook or blogs to communicate with students, these tools have more credibility when they are in the voice of another student (Feeney, 2009).
The numbers of adults between the ages of 18–29 who continue to blog have been declining steadily over the past few years (Marcus, 2010). Today, only 15% of people in that age bracket blog—a decline of more than half between the years 2006 and 2009. During this period of decline, Facebook adoption has risen by millions of users per year (Solis, 2010, p. 19). Experts conclude that Facebook is now meeting the communication needs of people who had previously relied upon the art of blogging. Andergassen, Behringer, Finlay, Gorra, & Moore (2009) found another reason for fewer people choosing to blog: lack of privacy. Today, students turn to the most convenient and accessible tools that help them communicate with fellow students. By far, the top tool is Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Twitter.
Want to learn more and take your content to the next level?Contact us
- Andergassen, M., Behringer, R., Finlay, J., Gorra, A., & Moore, D. (2009). Weblogs in higher education—why do students (not) blog. Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 7 (3), 203-215.
- Black, R. (2010, April 27). College students are ‘addicted’ to social media and even experience withdrawal symptons from it. Retrieved April 30, 2010, from NYDailyNews.com: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/
- Feeney, N. (2009, Spring). Getting personal: How colleges and high school students connect online. Journal of College Admission, 4-7.
- Grossman, L. (2010, December 27). 2010 Person of the year: Mark Zuckerberg. Time, p. 50.
- Marcus, M. B. (2010, February 3). The young prefer Facebook to blogging, Twitter. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from USA Today: www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/2010-02-04-teensonline04_st_n.htm
- Nielsen, J. (2010b, December 15). College students on the Web. Retrieved December 17, 2010, from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/students.html
- Solis, B. (2010). Engage! The complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the new Web. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.