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Effects of twitter and facebook in the academic standing of students

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EFFECTS OF TWITTER AND FACEBOOK IN THE ACADEMIC STANDING OF STUDENTS
March 22, 2012
According to Kirkpatrick, twitter and facebook maybe useful, destructive or both (83). Social networking sites such as twitter and facebook are now prominent in the society. A vast amount of people engage in these kinds of website every year. Social bakers recorded 80 million new facebook accounts in the first quarter of year 2011. While Lauren Daugan confirmed on the same year that there were 460,000 new twitter accounts per day. With the wide range of modernization, technology contributes a big factor to the well being of its users. Relating social networking sites to the academic standing of teenage students, there are a lot of pragmatic results upon connecting to such. These websites were made to help the community and not destroy it. However, its users seem to enjoy its convenience a lot that they let it come between their school-related endeavors. With this, an inversely proportional ratio was observed between the number of new twitter and facebook accounts to the quantity of qualified scholars produced per year. There were three distinct attitudes developed upon engaging to such websites – multitasking, procrastinating, and deterioration of proper writing skills.

A research conducted by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America (2009) showed that multitaskers or people who developed the behavior of media multitasking are vulnerable to irrelevant meddling from the environment and performed very poorly in a test-switching test (Posner 15583). Simultaneously doing school works while using facebook or twitter is unadvisable. It crumbles up ones mental processing which results to a low quality work. Procrastination, on the other hand, delays your should-be priority. Most common reason is because of social media. Cramming (lay-man’s term) is synonymous to the act of procrastinating. Students often practice the attitude of doing a certain report in the last minute which again results to an ineffective paper. The third attitude observed as one of the effects of frequently using twitter and facebook is the deterioration of proper writing. This was supported by a research conducted by David Craig last 2002 about the results of the State Assessment Test conducted in New York (130). There was a down-slope on reading and writing results of the students but an extremely high increase in the average math and science scores. Surprisingly, prominent technologies back then were only IMs, e-mail, yahoo messanger, and the like. However, he boldly affirmed that those were one of the main factors that affected the quality decline. Nevertheless, the source of these negative outcomes would also be the same thing that can bring probable solutions. The internet also provides Online Education without asking for a monetary exchange.

One effective tool presented by the ASEAN Foundation during an international symposium about information and communication technology for social development last 2006, is an Open Source Software (OSS) teaching and learning. Since OSS is data-based, it enables wide spread of information that allows users to accomplish a number of tasks through self-study or group efforts. It can easily be accessed, it is versatile, and it is extensible. OSS is academic-oriented that lets external inquiry develop its system. In addition to its convenience, OSS keeps track on the performance of both the student and the teacher (Boggaley 47). Basically, this paper was made to present a variety of problems and solutions visibly present in the society with regards to social networking sites. Because statistics show that 41% of media using teenagers experience the behavior of multitasking, procrastinating, and lax attitude towards creative and proper writing, social networking sites should be modified into a more academic-oriented website by adding search engines with features that will enable teachers to connect and conduct lectures with their students and refocusing the application to become more informative and academically inclined.
Development/Body

Before the internet became a basic tool of survival, it was once a simple idea of linking together data for a group of computers. In 1957, the primary basis of internet which outshone the existing technology back then and turned sophisticated and high-risk research into innovative technologies was made by Dr. J. C. R. Licklider. He created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). ARPA enabled association or connection among a number of computers. However, it cannot accommodate a vast amount of data and therefore, replaced by more advanced equipment which they called ARPANET during the mid-1970. Gradual change and globalization demanded very powerful software. That was why in 1987, the Internet flourished for its ability to connect almost all the computers in the globe; it was not controlled by one Supreme Being; and it can be modified through time (Schrum and Berenfeld 3-4). As people began using the internet, more and more websites were made having diverse roles and purpose. Some are for information dissemination, marketing, networking, buying & selling, while others are for communication, advertising, entertainment, and many more. A specific kind of website attracted the attention of the people; it was the social networking sites.

These are websites that enables its users to get connected to their peers, colleagues, family and relatives, and even to random people. One can access his account to any way he wishes to (HERI 1). Nevertheless, the continuous growth of social networking sites over the past two to three years appeals an analytic approach of its conventional culture and its integration on the lives of its users (Chu et al. 6). Twitter is one of the most commonly used website. It is a tool for communicating with others, expressing your thoughts and views, and posting random stuff about matters enclosed in only 140 characters per tweet. According to Schroeder 2009, Jack Dorsey, the owner of twitter, envisions the website to have a number of uses for the convenience of its users. For active users, a tweet can replace text messaging, sms and e-mails. It’s being multipurpose and flexible causes more people to engage in this website (qtd. in Chu et al. 224). Chu et al. (2013) mentioned six functions of twitter, these are: 1) a thread of tête-à-tête can be sustained 2) a collaboration or team up among its users can be made 3) one can easily be informed about another 4) for information dissemination 5) for ones eloquence about his thoughts and emotions 6) for selling and promoting products. According to Chu et al. (2013), twitter arbitrates the practice of using social media. It can be likened to facebook. However, its uniqueness is shown in its capability to choose who to follow or to whom you can only view tweets from.

The principle of selective attention is used by the people who connect in such social media website (227). Researchers were very much interested upon what the main purpose of twitter is – why a lot of people engage in this kind of social networking website. Some of its users take on twitter to be awed since it can be considered as the latest and widest social networking website in the globe (after facebook). It is also a ground for teenagers or even adults as Zhao and Rosson (2009) to form an interactive relationship among their other people (Savage and McGoun 52). According to Savage and McGoun, twitter is not mainly within a personal level, it grows beyond a worldwide point. He emphasized twitter as a site of political campaign as well as protests, marketing, and current news updates. It broadcasts what is presently happening all-throughout the globe (50). Twitter is indeed of convenience to its users. Its features allow you to get connected to your friends as well as to the real world. Twitter may not directly present its ulterior purpose; rather its extent depends on how one uses it. Despite its positive terms, it also brings unconstructive outcomes. Another major social networking site nowadays is facebook. Since facebook is at its peak of success, a book about it was published. The book covers the story behind the formation of facebook, Zuckerberg’s purpose in creating the website, and how researchers see the effect of facebook towards today’s generation. Mark Zuckerberg is just a simple guy who studied computer science in Harvard University where he generated the thought of inventing “facebook”.

Because Zuckerberg’s college life was filled with abstract and idealistic principles enclosed in an open and free academe, these things reflect on the form and shape of facebook. Facebook aims to be utilized up to its limits in a given amount of time the user allots to it. Also, Zuckerberg wants subscribers to explore the world in an effective manner through engaging with facebook (Kirkpatrick 14). Zuckerberg said upon his interview with Kirkpatrick (2011), his being minimalistic reflects the exact opposite of what facebook contains. Around 30 billion information, status updates, events, links, photos, video, and the like, are posted in facebook in only about one month (11). It can be seen that both the owner of twitter and facebook does not denote bringing harm to its users. However as Shields (2003) said in his The Virtual book, applications that may harm determined and large-scale virtual environments may be a design and visualization, at the same time act as training because of the reconstruction of computer industry and the decrease in expenses (71). As supported by Conford and Pollock (2003), easy access of great information corresponds to a number of consumers right to use these data efficiently. Since a computer is a key to decrease manual works for the academe stuff that will improve services for the students, personal responsibilities should be implemented (99).

Earlier, three major effects of social networking sites were mentioned. Various studies had already been conducted about the constant growth of these negative outcomes. To top the list, let us first look into how media multitasking defines and tracks an information age phenomenon. To understand an individual is to know what social group he belongs. Smith (1986) said, “Humans have a lot of interactive affiliations”. Their social relation would also affect how they gather or acquire information. In 2006, Hedstrom stated that, “it is rightful to say that people has that natural tendency to be influenced on what their group say or do”. “However, this phenomenon may also lead to a negative outcome to other people or even to the environment”, Tinbergen (1968) added (qtd. in Gould 1). Media multitasking is rapidly becoming omnipresent especially to teenagers even if a stream of information is a burden to the mental ability of the brain. This attitude of diverting cognitive processors towards different information-based medium affects ones memory, learning, and intellectual functioning (Posner 15583). Based from a research, social scientists found out that computer is the most frequent technology paired up with homework (Foehr 11).

A student tends to read or do his schoolwork while waiting for a certain video, song, application, or the like, to download. Internet paved way to multitasking providing natural breaks and regular intrusions during work. Hence, today’s youth are very much prone to develop this kind of attitude. A person’s comprehension level may also deteriorate, resulting to a gradual decrease in performance, whenever he tries to do two or more activities simultaneously. An excerpt from Schmid 2004 was stated in the study of Foehr about multitasking (4). Schmid emphasized that distractions from social media has a big impact on how information is stored and interpreted. Interruptions caused by modern technology altered the memory system of humans; consequently having a wide gap of the important to the less important information (Foehr 4). Since facebook has unlimited number of posts accounting to different sorts of information presented, cognitive processes which should be focused for studying get out-bounded by unimportant stimulus. Multitasking can be further explained psychologically and neurologically. A lengthened period of time is needed when a number of tasks are concurrently done. This excess time is referred by Pashler (2000) as Psychological Refractory Period (Foehr 4). The priority may be set aside once another stimulus is introduced. Pashler (2000) said that as a person goes on with his work, a processing jam would most likely occur when the central portion of the brain could not manage an overload of stimuli since “the active site cannot maintain two mappings” (qtd. in Foehr 4).

More and more information are made available by the internet every year. This is convenient to most of its users because it will be easier to conduct research and investigations. However, it also brings negative effects on how they filter loads of knowledge. Certain psychological analyses confirmed a worse effect brought by facebook. Kotch et al (2011) presented the use of working memory that correlates to representational holding. When these two held more than the limited amount of data it can contain, some information (which is frequently academic-related) are washed up by the brain and therefore remains unused (Foehr 18). Bringing your attention to almost every byte of information and remembering all of these can never be possible. The second major attitude developed by social networking sites is procrastination. Although students who spent more time on social networking sites did not report spending less time on critical academic activities such as going to class and doing homework, they did report having more difficulty managing their time and developing effective study skills (Foehr, Rideout and Victoria 33). The act of procrastinating is common to almost all students. Ones optimum capability will not be exhibited when he practices procrastinating, especially if this becomes a part of his daily system. Stress, apprehension, and being pessimism are only some of the products of procrastination. In addition, a crammed work will correspond to a substandard product. According to Shields, the vast amount of information posted over the web and people’s lack of critical analysis towards a verifiable source, obtaining a vague and unreliable reference is a high possibility (193).

With this regard, a person who procrastinated would not mind to check the validity of his source. There is a reason for everything and some of the well-know researchers studied about the motives behind procrastination. According to, Solomon and Rothblum (1984) the two primary excuses for this attitude are: “task avoidance and fear of failure” (qtd in Brownlow and Reasinger 16). These are two contradictory attributes because a person who is afraid to fail must not avoid tasks bestowed upon him. Irony such as this can now be observed in the modern generation. Basically based from the conducted researches it can be concluded that procrastination can cause an alarm towards the learning and development of students. The third attribute developed by using social networking sites is deterioration in the writing skills of students. Because slang words or shortened forms of words are usually used online, students develop lax attitude towards proper spelling and grammar so they often aid the spell check feature of a computer to write effectively. The quality of a literary work produced by the present students is gradually decreasing. Upon certain surveys asking what the reason behind is their constant answer is the presence of different technologies such as computers and cellphones (Craig 12). An American journalist, Wendy Leibowitz, mentioned in her article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that teenagers has that behavior of sorting out what they want to read, given a compilation of texts.

A byproduct of this is that they produce inefficient and low-quality research or literary papers. She boldly stated that “the prominent use of internet may lead youth literacy into the state of peril as time goes by” (qtd. in Craig 2). Facebook allows chatting or sending message with your friends or even with random people using the website. Although it provides an easy access to people far away from you and promotes an alternative way of communication, its wide range of capacity presents no terms towards what its users ought to say or post. David Craig presented four types of slang words used by American teenagers in his book. First is the kind of slang words that uses numbers or substitute wording that sounds the same as the original or phonetic replacements. Another kind is termed as inanities. These are integration of several jargons which are not recognized by Webster’s dictionary. The last two are the commonly used acronyms or ellipsis of phrases and abbreviations or shortened words (5). He quoted two prominent English personalities that support claims against use of vernaculars as the cause for students’ writing skills deficiency. James Billington believed that “the library must be altered in order to have a student-friendly ambiance and modern approach towards information dissemination”. Judith Gillespie, a member of the Scottish Parent teacher Council, added that “school administrations should center their attention towards an effective educational system that would jive into the relentlessly changing world” (qtd in. Craig 7-8). Some experts contradict the claim of internet being the main reason for students to develop lax attitude towards proper writing. They say that the language used in social networking sites such as twitter and facebook implies a creative and varied way of expression.

A controversial anonymous blogger and also one of the owners of an expert verbal communication core website differentiated the application of an informal and formal writing. He said that “the internet liberates the audience on the form of language they can use”. However, this should never be used in doing an academic piece (qtd in. Craig 12). We may develop a number of changes in handling communiqué, but we should always keep in mind the basic norms of communication. Pragmatic literacy is still our key for future ventures in life. Its classical approach may not be as hip or cool as what we have now, still it is universally accepted. People should not rely too much on what they get from the computer or the internet specifically. The old-fashion use of books, magazines, and newspaper should not be neglected by the forthcoming generations. It’s a matter of how one connotes proper writing, how he manages the evolution of language and most importantly how this impact affects his whole being. Certain solutions are now presented by researchers to diminish the pessimistic results stated earlier. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an aid for education that brings a pack full of knowledge and a key against digital ignorance; thus, promotes tolerance. In the words of globalization, ICT is an effective tool for teaching and learning (Glass, Vrasidas and Zembylas 89).

Currently, a lot of modification had already been done to associate education with social networking sites. As mentioned by Rheingold (Savage and McGoun 52) in his blog post about twitter, your following and followers reflect the reason why you use twitter. In his case, he chiefly uses his account to widen his knowledge through following academic-related accounts or people to whom he can access a variety of information from. Having an account in twitter can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. Within a personal level, I experienced the positive and negative outcomes of this social networking site. The use of twitter can be addictive, thus, bring distractions when doing school-related works. Its benefit comes when you access important society-linked information that would widen your awareness. “Feeding the network is as important as being fed by it” (McGoun and Savage 53) McGoun and Savage concluded that twitter be refocused into something which can present more of the positive results to a specific user. The ability to follow is a chance to have a wide range of information capacity depending on who you follow. People should be briefed about how advantageous twitter can be – the reality that twitter users can actually generate researches or reports about a certain event through the “hashtags” offered by it. With this, random people can directly voice out their thoughts in a community level.

Threads of discussions and commentaries which can be accessed in the website will enable a reporter to gather enough information about an issue (McGoun and Savage 53). Likewise, being followed is an opportunity to bring wholesome and helpful information to the twitter world. You never know, your mere opinion might be of use to others. As well as your known facts can be utilized and passed on to a number of people. McGoun and Savage’s (2012) words were indeed something to agree upon especially when he conferred twitter as a “social/professional/learning network”. He also added that one has a responsibility to both his followers and the people he follows (54). McGoun and Savage (2012) suggested ways for teachers to utilize twitter as a modern tool for teaching. Teachers can use twitter as a site in making announcements in class. They can also encourage their students to react about current issues, but to make use of proper writing upon tweeting their opinions. In addition, a mentor can persuade the class to follow academic-related or inspirational networks which would provide them further knowledge (56). The internet provides a wider variety of data and a more accessible one. Students use the computer to apply on a certain degree course, check for updates about their personal affiliations, pay bills, schedule a meeting, and others.

They are one of the main groups of computer or internal users. Students are capable to build a connection between the systems of their PC (Cornford and Pollock 97). Exposed to mobile learning tools, however, students seek additional information and skills to use other interactive computer technology-related tasks such as word processing and search engines in the website (Carlson and Gadio 126). Adding search engines in the website itself would be of ease to the users since they won’t need to open a lot of tabs in making a research. Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and other search websites should directly be linked through twitter and facebook. Spreading of information online is a way to search for new knowledge without the direct use of money. Professors in Math, Science, and even History use the internet for up-to-date teaching. In addition, through maintaining the validity of data posted on the web, scholars get a reasonable income (Schrum and Berenfield 156). Many private schools have built their own online communities, even allowing teachers to post assignments and their own blogs on affiliated websites. Social networking started to develop features enabling teachers to conduct lecture and connect with their students. A facebook application called, facebook group, allows its users to post anything in this page and maintain an orderly and sustainable thread of exchange of thoughts and opinions (Kirkpatrick 23).

This specific feature is now utilized by college and high school professors to disseminate announcements and hand-outs and even share links that would help students to further understand the lesson. Posting of grades is even done through these facebook groups. Teachers can also carry out lectures and even use the openness of it as a strategy to take hold of the attentions of their students. According to the behavioral learning theory stated by Davidson – Shivers and Rasmussen (2006), one can learn through implementation of punishments or reinforcements. Acknowledging good works online would fall to positive reinforcements while lessening significant information shared by a web-based instructor would be considered as a negative reinforcement (42). High-regard of supervision, regular assessment by the mentor, setting strict deadlines, and academic competitions coupled with high expectancy, are suggested ways to drive a person in soulfully engaging his attention to achieve an excellent academic performance. Procrastination, as a matter of fact, maybe prevented through different means of motivation that may stalwartly oppose the justification of a student why he still needs to do so. Since procrastinators have difficulty in self-regulating, they should be externally goaded (Brownlow and Reasinger 17). The last proposition presented in this paper is to refocus the applications to become more academically-oriented.

The virtual world makes a visual representation that enables its users to widen their creativity and imagination. Information linkage is shown through icons and digital animations that turn bare figures into an abstract image. A naked system is transformed through gradual modification resulting to the formation of a virtual world. This “world” knocks the sensory organs of its users, specifically the sense of sight and hearing, because of its depth of animation and illusion (Shields 70). Based from Batchuluun and Sambuu’s research, “electronic learning is an effective academic system for its flexibility, variability and worth” It paved the way for modern method of teaching that does not require monetary engagements (Boggaley 45). Young people are most likely to take risks and are termed as “impression hunters or sensation seekers”. Out of tedium, they find excitement in operating a number of technology/gadget or even having different tabs opened with a variety of websites (Foehr 10). Thus, to minimize the load of knowledge one can get from numerous search engines, it would be very obliging to have your own twitter or facebook as your tool for research and other school-related works.

Conclusion

The continual development of social networking sites indeed affected the lives of its users, especially the students. Teenagers are fond in engaging to twitter and facebook for they find pleasure and entertainment with the features and applications enclosed in these sites. However, they often disregard school works and prioritize socializing online. Thus, procrastinating arise. Some accompany their assignments and projects while using twitter and facebook. Nevertheless, multi-tasking is not advisable since it affects the mental being of oneself. Lastly, the wide spread of slang words is seen in the internet. A portion of social networking site users habitually apply this kind of language when writing a formal prose. Facebook and twitter were not purposed to bring such negative effects in the well-being of its users. That is why certain adjustments are being done to lessen these outcomes. It is observed that education is revolutionizing – from the old-school books to modern digital tools. Online teaching and providing academic-related resources are practiced by educators in order to adapt to the continual modernization brought by developing technologies. It maybe a new approach towards information dissemination but the two sources of knowledge are of equal importance (McGound and Savage 58). This modernization can be handled accordingly with proper awareness and enough knowledge on what approach a mentor would most likely use as an effective tool. The new age introduces openness among different kinds of audience and eliminates ignorance towards modern technology. Given that humans invented a lot of technologies for the convenience of people, it is not created to become a problem. It is how people use it that imposes whether or not it is for advantage purposes.

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