Social Media and Education: A Look at Facebook Campus
The popular social media site Facebook was created at Harvard University in 2003, and now it is bringing the college experience to the virtual networking world through their new platform, Facebook Campus. Launched early September 2020, the platform offers students a private space to connect with peers, join study groups, get administration updates, and explore campus events.
For now, Facebook Campus is being piloted in 30 universities in North America, including Virginia Tech and Johns Hopkins, and limits access to students within the same school. However, it has still managed to open a new sphere for education on social media, and can soon expand its reach and influence.
Let’s take a look at the exciting features Facebook Campus has to offer, and the advantages and disadvantages of the possible move.
What Facebook Campus offers:
Campus-only newsfeed - This is scrolling made educational. Students receive news and updates specific to their university, campus, and stream.
Campus directory - The only phone book you’ll need for campus connections, this directory is a simple way to meet and interact with classmates and professors.
Campus chat - Real-time chat rooms for dormitories, clubs, associations, and study groups to conveniently coordinate with the campus at large.
Advantages of Facebook Campus:
Encourages student interaction and participation
This generation is accustomed to communicating on social media platforms — right from the classic Hi5 and Orkut. So it makes sense that the latest innovation Facebook has brought us allows students to connect remotely with their campus on a platform they already know and love. It makes interaction and participation easier, especially outside a traditional classroom.
Brings fun to a schedule
It’s only too easy to switch focus from a college-related article to the many distractions of social media. The memes, visuals, and bite-sized information on social media feeds are more appealing at times, and that’s what makes Facebook Campus visionary — it brings the fun of social media to everyday college routines and schedules.
Allows for parental involvement
Parents often find themselves disconnected from their child’s education once the college years roll around; there are fewer parent-targeted meetings and events. This way, it can be made possible for parents to be involved in college activities, as well as communicate conveniently with university officials and professors through their own college-specific profiles.
Disadvantages of Facebook Campus:
Hinders social interaction
There are two sides to every coin and Facebook Campus could bring a few problems to the table as well. To begin with, groups, pages, and chats are everywhere as is and this could be another reason to cut out real-life interaction post-pandemic. Facebook Campus could prove detrimental to students’ social skills in the long run, even affecting their chances of employment.
Risks student privacy
While Facebook Campus ensures high security, there is still an issue of privacy with regard to important updates and documents being traded on a social media platform. A college forum would usually include relevant student records, and in this case, these records from various institutions are all in the same virtual safe. Compromising the security of Facebook Campus means compromised privacy for students across North America, and someday, worldwide.
Partners with advertisers
The platform may not include advertising on its feed, but it still allows advertisers to target users based on interests. One of the ways to connect with peers on Facebook Campus is through common interests and advertisers can still get their hands on key information for marketing purposes. This is definitely a potential downer.
Regardless of disadvantages though, Facebook Campus is a reality today and has transformed education even further. It is certainly an innovation that could aid the sector immensely in terms of communication and access to education.
However, while we experience this new blend of education and social media, it is important to keep in mind that it cannot replace face-to-face interaction. Facebook Campus works great as a tool to complement traditional education systems, but in our opinion, social media should be used primarily for showcasing photos of the real-life experiences that are integral to college life.