The invention of digital technology was due to the need for making the world a global place. With its invention, digital media brought about social media, which has been misused to some extent. However, if applied well, social media can act as the best and most effective way of sharing information. This not only makes the human race advanced, but also opens avenues for the improvement of self, since information always provides one with power. As such, most learning institutions are now comfortable in incorporating digital devices in school and classroom. The seductive power of digital technology is what is making it more popular.
A recent survey, conducted by Chenn (2012), reveals that students prefer using social media for their researches as they act as some sort of group discussions. Social media platforms are formidable used to discuss critical issues among registered members. This can be done internationally and without any fear as there is no censoring. Apparently, social media can also enable shy students to express their ideas and thus, a more effective diffusion of information.
Aaker and Smith (2009) surveyed undergraduate students in order to find out how and when they use it. Over the six thousand students who participated in the research showed immense receptiveness to using social media to connect socially with other students. This was especially between the students with similar academic interests where they shared different ideas. However, the interaction was not limited to academics since other aspects were also shared.
Social media are also used as a form of education material. This issue is broadly discussed by Devoss (2010) who explain that E-Learning is one way of doing this. Here, students can download lecturers’ notes and even pose questions for their lecturers. Social media platforms serve as the place where students post any events and even welcome their colleagues for social functions such as parties and sometimes meetings for clubs. Apparently, the same avenue is used to form inter sex relationships. Catching up on issues is also done through social media, especially, if one of the students is not on the campus (Margaryan, Littlejohn & Vojt, 2011).
It is noteworthy that social media is also being misused by students. A survey by (November, 2009) reveals that some students are using social media to acquire pornographic material. Some of these are accessible to any underage person with access to a computer. Such behaviors contribute to moral deviance. The same media platforms are used to spread rumors and slander about professors who are not popular with students. Students use the same method to plan for social ills and even strikes. Some students prefer getting their information from social media, which is not always true and is not in their best interest.
Acceptable Social Media
Social media platforms are gaining terrific popularity to the extent that most of them are now becoming formal. Despite their vastness, only a percentage of them are acceptable by most countries’ department of communication. Among the acceptable ones are Facebook, Twitter, My Space, LinkedIn and boards. The most common one is Facebook and it is accessible internationally except a few countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This country has censored the site due to the religious and moral beliefs. The sites are used for different purposes such as to advertise a business or to find a job (Livingstone, McLeod & Lehmann, 2011).
Changes that Have Occurred in the Past Five Years on How Students Receive Information and News
Social media has shown an increase in popularity over the past decade. In fact, November (2009) explains that this popularity has been so vast that children as young as ten years old now get most of their information through social media. The information sector has been plagued greatly with such popularity. To explain this fact further, it is important to explore the changes that have taken place during the past five years.
In the past five years, magazines, newspapers and hearsay were the main ways of passing information. In schools, memos and announcements were done as a formal way of passing information. Social media platforms were not so popular at the time and important information was not passed through this means. Only unnecessary information could be passed through this means. This is also attributed to the high prices of most digital gadgets.
This improved drastically when digital network was improved and became affordable. Digital devices also became cheaper, especially, with the infusion of Chinese products into the digital market. Many students could now afford digital devices and could have an access to social media (Hardin & Ziebarth, 2009). The climax of this was seen from the year 2010 where digital media became more accessible to developing countries. In order to advertise affordably their businesses internationally, most entrepreneurs used social media and thus its growth. This replaced newspapers and magazines, which also became accessible in most social sites.
The cost of accessing social media is likely to affect a student’s choice to consume social media. For instance, it is cheaper to access social media using a phone than a computer. Convenience of getting necessary information plays a big role in this, like the portability of a phone as compared to even a tablet or laptop (Switzer & Csapo, 2009). The function of the gadget affects students’ decision. Some functions can only be carried out by certain gadgets, for example, downloading a document written in word can only be done by a computer.