Social Students

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Social media without a doubt is a growing force in our society and its presence can be found with people of all generations. However, one group, that has been most captivated by this relatively new outlet for news and information, is college students.

NYIT students of the Carleton Group recently had the pleasure to meet Melissa Kuehnle, a NYIT graduate who has been named one of the top people to follow on Twitter. Melissa, who currently works as the manager of community relations at the Long Island campus of St. Joseph’s College, is a well-known figure in the social media world. In her presentation to the students, she highlighted the degree to which our society is dependent on social media, and more importantly, why everyone finds social media attractive. In her words, “It is a communication resource that doesn’t cost anything to use and spreads far and wide.”

Additionally, students were given a look at how big name companies have made use of this growing field to increase sales and awareness of causes.  With a vast array of outlets constantly popping up including movies, food, music, television, and family, she feels that “as long as people have creative ways to connect, there is no limit to social media on the web.”

The importance of these networks also extends beyond news and entertainment, as many institutions have used social media to promote their school events. Students nowadays also create student groups to interact with classmates and discuss common issues, using social media sites as a forum that links them to their peers.Social media networks present students with a way of staying in touch with their friends, surroundings, and the world as a whole. In an age that is so dependent on staying up to date with all news and developments with even the weirdest of stories, students can readily turn to their Facebook news feeds, or twitter updates and know what exactly is going on around them.

To truly test the power of social media and relaying news to the masses, I took a walk across campus, and conducted a poll by specifically asking: How did you first hear of the passing of Steve Jobs?  Not surprisingly, 70% of the students answered with either Facebook or Twitter. When speaking with current NYIT junior Akshay Sharma on how he feels his life would be without these popular websites. “I might as well be lost in a desert. I cannot even begin to explain how much I rely on social media sites for new information”

In response to this positive growth of social media usage, the NYIT Campus Slate has increased its social media efforts, and now has an up to date Twitter and Facebook fan page for students to follow. Through these two outlets, students are able to keep track of campus events, and be alerted of new articles published by NYIT’s only school newspaper. Due to the amount of knowledge that is spread through these sources, social media is quickly becoming a complement to the newspaper. With the ability to supply news in an instant to millions worldwide, as opposed to waiting for the daily paper, social media will continue to grow and its use will continue to become more and more common.

As for those of you wondering what the next new popular thing might be, Melissa expects Google’s newest project Google+ to really take over the social media industry. “Google owns so much of the web that we could see it become the powerhouse of social media some time very soon.” Believe it or not, even the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is a part of Google’s new network.  With a few clicks of a mouse, everyone can join into this growing forum and be more connected with the world in an instant.

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