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Brooke Dacquisto, sophomore English major at Drury University met one of her best friends on MySpace and has continued this trend of using social media as a way of meeting new people.
“For me, it’s just a way of showing you can make real connections even though it’s virtual, you know through a screen, you can still meet people who will be your friends for life,” Dacquisto said.
Caitlin Gasper, freshman biology and psychology major, only uses social media because it is required in her class at Drury.
Her professor posts information for class at a time where college students are likely to see it, but she’s still apprehensive about using social media.
“I guess the cons are that people are a little obsessed and post stuff that people don’t really care about like food. They overshare and that’s an easy way for them to overshare because they can access it anywhere,” Gasper said.
For some, the amount of information through social media can be overwhelming and a distraction. Like Kevin Abernathy, a junior English and writing major at Drury.
“Essentially a lot of the time you get to pick what you see which can be a good thing because you get the kind of content and information you like but also you might miss out on other things. But I think a lot of the time as a user you’re kind of aware of that,” Abernathy said.
Social media has opened the door for everyone to take part in the conversation, but it can be dangerous if used incorrectly, notes Leonard Horton III, broadcast journalism instructor at Missouri State University. He refers to it as a “YouTube generation” where people will often post without thoroughly vetting the material.
“I think the danger with social media is that people are just posting and saying things and they don’t understand that they can be held liable for what you tweet and what you say,” Horton said.
Ben and Savanna Schenck are expecting a baby soon, and think good parenting is key when allowing a child to use social media.
“Too much of anything is a bad thing and so I think at the heart of the matter is what are your child’s motives whenever they’re on there. Are they finding their identity in what’s being posted or are they grounded in something else other than that? I don’t have any issue of having a child use social media by any means, but I think it comes back to good parenting and coming back to having your child grounded in what’s really important,” Schenck said.
Horton said professors at MSU are working on teaching students to use social media responsibly.
“I wouldn’t say we’re necessarily teaching them how to use social media we’re teaching them how to be professional with it and that’s a big difference. You can have an Instagram account, you can have a lot of different accounts, but do you use it professionally?,” Horton said.
For KSMU News, I’m Briana Simmons.