Kelcey Landis uses her Facebook account multiple times a day, and it might actually help with her communication skills, according to a new study.
"I go on Facebook all the time," Landis (freshman-advertising/public relations) said. "I use it mostly for socializing and procrastinating."
In a recent study conducted by University of Minnesota's Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher from the College of Education and Human Development, students using social networking Web sites are practicing the 21st century skills needed to be successful in today's society.
Students are improving their communication through social networks, such as Facebook, a skill the study found is essential for a successful career. The study involved teenagers aged 16 to 18, of many different economic backgrounds and from urban high schools in the Midwest.
The study found even the students in the lower class used such social networks as Facebook and Myspace to build connections and form relationships with people all over the world, according to a 2005 Pew Research Center study linked to the study. Seventy-seven percent of students studied had social networking profiles on sites such as Facebook and Myspace or both. According to the study, these social networks are a large part of why low-income students are becoming just as "technologically proficient" as their peers.
Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said she uses Facebook to communicate and establish connections with many students on campus.
"Facebook has changed the way people communicate," Mountz said. "It's the familiarity of the technology. This generation is becoming more comfortable with technology in any field."
Mountz went as far as to use Facebook to follow this year's primaries.
"I visited some of the candidate pages through BBC News just to see what they had to say. I wanted to see what their Facebook presence was," Mountz said.
Some students, such as Morgan Wheeler (freshman-division of undergraduate studies), disagree with Greenhow's recent findings, saying Facebook is just a means of communicating with friends.
"I used it to find my roommate for this summer. It was nice to be able to talk to her before meeting in person for the first time," Wheeler said. "I use it for the pictures and talking to friends, but I don't think it's going to help with my communication skills."