College Students, Technology and Social Media
College students today are more tech savvy than ever before and UMD students are no exception.
The majority of University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) students walking through the campus hallways carry a laptop in their backpacks, listen to music on iPods, and have a smart phones in their hands.
According to the "Profile of the College Student Experience" survey conducted by the UMD Office of Student Life, more than 96 percent of UMD students own a laptop/notebook computer, 94 percent of the students have a Facebook account, and 57 percent of the students own a smartphone. The survey was designed to assist UMD in understanding student attitudes and activities in a number of different areas. "It's very helpful to have the results from the "Use of Technology and Social Media" section of the Profile Survey," said Lisa Erwin, Vice Chancellor for Student Life. "The data confirms the need for UMD to find more ways to utilize social media to communicate with students."
Allison Severson, a senior geology major and mathematics minor, doesn't feel the need to connect with technology multiple times a day. She said that owning the latest technological gadgets is not important for her because she would rather spend her money on other things. Severson owns a Dell laptop, an iPod and a cell phone and considers Facebook to be addictive. She said that most UMD students own smartphones because they can access Twitter and Facebook, watch TV on their phone and probably because they don’t have to pay for it themselves. “It is not important for me to own the latest technological gadgets because I would rather spend my money on other things,” Severson said.
Social Networking Sites
Of the approximately 720 students who responded to the questions, 71 percent use internet multiple times per day for social networking. About 94 percent of the students log on to Facebook at least 1-2 times per day while 76 percent of the respondents have a Skype account. About 30- 40 percent of students have a profile on Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, and blogs (Blogster, Blogger, Word press) while Flickr, MySpace and Tagged were the less visited networks with only 1-15 percent students using them.
About 96 percent of the students own a laptop/notebook computer which is higher than the spring 2012 national average of 93 percent.
The survey revealed that 46 percent students send 1 -25 text messages on a typical day. Sixty-seven percent said that less than one quarter of their text messages are related to academic matters/topics (i.e., texting peers, faculty, administrators about coursework and group work).
Austin Boe is a senior studying painting and printmaking. Boe, who owns an Android smartphone, sends about 10-15 text messages on a typical day. Sixty-five percent of his text messages are related to academics. “I don’t text much but when I do, it’s usually related to school or my involvment with student organizations,” Boe said. He said that he has mostly small group classes but students in his large lectures do texting in class. He also said that his smartphone allows him to have access to calender, email and just randomly looking stuff up.
Anh Phung, a senior international student from Vietnam, is majoring in finance and statistics. She uses the internet 2-3 times each month to do online shopping. She uses the internet to do online shopping for clothes, cosmetics, electronic devices, and school books. She also discusses the latest online shopping trends with her friends. Phung said that the major reason she prefers to shop online is that Duluth does not have many clothing and cosmetics brands. Moreover, items are usually cheaper online.
“Online shopping gives the option of checking the prices of the things in various stores,” she said. “It is then easier to buy the things from stores that have good deals.”
Sixty-five percent of the students responded that they would be very comfortable if the employers search for their name on Google or other similar venue while four percent responded that they would not be comfortable at all.
Nick Feldmeier is a junior at UMD. Feldmeier, a political science and international studies major, said that he would be comfortable if potential employers looked at his Google+ profile but not his Facebook profile. “Facebook has very personal information,” he said. “As a student right now, I have pictures on Facebook which I do not want my future employers to see,” Feldmeier said. “That might affect my future job.” He also said that he would probably delete his Facebook profile before joining the workforce.
Research, News, Music, and Videos
Thirty-four percent UMD students use internet multiple times a day to download/listen to music and eighty-two percent watch videos on YouTube more than once a week.
Not only do UMD students use the internet for entertainment purposes, they also use it to keep up-to-date with the news. Seventy-three percent use the internet to read an online newspaper or news outlet at least once a week.
Kathrine Biah, a freshman from Albertville, Minn., uses Pandora to listen to music. She listens to music on her laptop in her free time as well as while working on her mathematics homework. “I listen to music because it helps me get the work done,” she said. “If I don’t listen to music, I can’t focus.”
Life Without Technology
Aloysia Power is a senior with a writing studies major and a Spanish minor. Power said that she is behind in purchasing the latest technology and does not really feel the need to have the latest cell phones, computers and other devices. She owns a 4-year-old LG Verizon Motorola Flip phone and a Toshiba laptop which she bought in 2009. She does not own an iPod or an iPad. “The reason most college students want to own the latest technological devices is not because they need it,” Power said. “Many students just want to be considered trendy.”
Power has a Facebook account which she checks every two days. “Facebook is super easy to keep in contact with people and to look at their pictures,” Power said. “But checking it every minute makes my head hurt.”
Continuously evolving technology and social media continue to influence the college experience of UMD students. They impact not only the social life of students, but also assist the students in their learning process.
Written by Madiha Mirza, November 2012