According to a study published by researchers at the Binghamton University, State University of New York, social media hit- Facebook can help college students of first-semester to maintain their relationships with their high school friends. Moreover, the social media website can also help them in creating new friendships. The study especially emphasized that people who have lower confidence in social skills can especially benefit from Facebook, while people with higher confidence in social skills could not necessarily gain by relying on Facebook.
Led by Surinder Kahai, who is an associate professor of management information systems at Binghamton University’s School of Management, the study especially focused on first semester students and examined undergraduate college students, sophomores and surveyed about their experiences with different social channels, which they use in order to grow their social circle.
“Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for many students. To help them adjust to life in college, it is critical for them to maintain connections with pre-college friends and to form new relationships,” explained Kahai with regards to the interest in the research.
For the study, researchers studied the impact of Facebook, as well as that of traditional media, such as phone calls and personal face-to-face interaction. The experts revealed every student’s social efficacy and how it helped in building and maintaining relationships through Facebook as well as through traditional media.
Key highlights of the study conveyed that Facebook compensated for lower use of traditional media, in order to maintain close relationships with friends from high school, Facebook also worked best when supplemented with traditional media in making new college friends, students with high self-efficacy gained more through traditional media while making new college friends, more than through Facebook, while students with low self-efficacy gained more while prioritizing Facebook, instead of traditional media in making new college friends.
Kahai also recommends that with growing prominence of social media among college students, it is advisable to not focus on the fact if social media is good or bad. “It’s here, it’s not going away. It’s a part of society now,” commented Kahai. “The results of our study suggest that instead of asking whether or not Facebook builds relationships and social capital, we should be focusing on finding the conditions in which it does.”
The presence of social media has become especially important, because new college students are often found stressing upon developing and maintaining high school friendship.