Internet and Higher Education xxx (2011) xxx–xxx
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Internet and Higher Education
Serious social media: On the use of social media for improving students' adjustment to college David C. DeAndrea a, , Nicole B. Ellison b, Robert LaRose b, Charles Stein eld b, Andrew Fiore b a b
Department of Communication, Michigan State University, United States Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media, Michigan State University, United States
a r t i c l e
Available online xxxx Keywords: Social media Social capital Transition to college College adjustment
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a b s t r a c t
A considerable body of research indicates that social support plays an integral role in determining students' successful adjustment to college. Unlike previous research that has evaluated face-to-face support interventions that occur during students' rst semester at college, the current study reports on a student-centered social media site designed to enhance students' perceptions of social support prior to their arrival on campus. Results indicated that site usage increased students' perceptions that they would have a diverse social support network during their rst semester at college, even when controlling for other potent predictors. The importance of social support perceptions for college adjustment is detailed and the rami cations of the social media intervention are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Newer forms of social media differ from older, traditional broadcast media in that they enable peer-to-peer messages, as opposed to unidirectional transmission of one-to-many media content. In doing so, these tools may have the potential to reshape communication patterns among their users by enabling online communication and lowering the barriers to face-to-face interaction. This paper reports on a social media intervention intended to increase connections among incoming college students with the goal of augmenting their feelings of connectedness to the university, increasing perceptions of preparedness and ef cacy regarding their future success at college, and providing a peer-driven forum for students to ask and answer questions. A social capital framework was employed to explain the ways in which this technological intervention might affect user perceptions and, potentially, their adjustment to college. One strand of research investigating the social capital implications of new media has focused on social network site use among college students, investigating sites such as Facebook which are open to the general Internet community (Ellison, Stein eld, & Lampe, 2007; Stein eld, Ellison, & Lampe, 2008; Valenzuela, Park, & Kee, 2009). Social media are being adopted in other contexts as well, such as internal corporate social network sites (DiMicco, Geyer, Dugan, Brownholtz, & Millen, 2009; DiMicco et al., 2008). These closed sites enable individuals to cultivate selfpresentational messages geared towards a particular context or audience and thus avoid the “multiple audience problem” that occurs when multiple aspects of one's social circle are present with little ability to segment messages (Leary, 1995; Marwick & boyd, 2010). Examples include well known “professional” social media such as LinkedIn and nascent efforts to harness social media for health communication (Elliot, Corresponding author. Tel./fax: + 1 732 6724287. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (D.C. DeAndrea). 1096-7516/$ – see front matter © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.05.009
2010). This study examines whether a targeted social media site can affect the intellectual and social lives of students transitioning from high school to college. The features of social media that facilitate rewarding and ef cacious communication have been discussed and documented across a variety of research contexts. One such context examines how...