Students today may have a lot of disadvantages, such as the cost of tuition and rent and reputations of laziness, but we do have an important and wonderful advantage: social media. We are fortunate enough to be connected with infinite numbers of other students, to see events happening around the world and learn from other cultures in a way no generation has been able to before.
Unlike humans, not all social media platforms are created equal. Each one is important and useful, but in different ways.
Advantage: Believe it or not, Facebook is still relevant. Its best uses are keeping up with family and high school friends and organizing events — perhaps the most important function for students. Facebook makes it extremely easy to inform students about concerts, fairs and even protests. Facebook has also become an online scrapbook. It’s the only big social media platform where you can create specific albums for different things, and it’s the only one that shows you posts from the good ol’ days of embarrassing yourself online. This feature is fun for college students because it reminds us of how much we’ve grown.
Disadvantage: Facebook’s biggest downfall is that if you comment on anything, you get notifications for every other comment. Additionally, everyone gets into long, heated and poorly-worded debates about everything under the sun.
Facebook is the longest lasting social media platform, and everything on Facebook used to be a big deal. Your relationship status became official, the photos you posted were important, especially if they got a lot of likes. Even today when you unfriend someone, it’s a metaphor for cutting them out of your life.
Advantage: Twitter is best for conducting quick surveys and advertising. During the first couple weeks of classes, many campus clubs exchange swag for Twitter follows. Twitter is also great for keeping up with current events. By following active politicians, we are becoming more familiar with their policies and their faces.
Twitter is also better for online debates because of the character limit. A person can’t go on too long of a rant in a single post. Twitter is also useful for socializing and keeping up with events you find important because it allows you to set alerts.
Disadvantage: Twitter’s disadvantage is that you can see so many things you’re not interested in because the people you follow retweet these posts.
Advantage: The best social media platform for actually socializing is Snapchat. Snapchat works quickly and gives you the freedom to be spontaneous with your posts. It gives you the most insight to the people you follow or are friends with. In high school, my friends would always tell me, “You’d probably know more about our lives if you were on Snapchat.”
Disadvantage: I didn’t bother with Snapchat for awhile because it’s a lot of work to stay active on it. Facebook and Twitter are nice because you can just pop in every once in a while, see what’s going on and no one ever really misses you. On Snapchat, stories expire after 24 hours and you can miss some great moments if you don’t check it regularly.
Advantage: Instagram is basically Snapchat at this point, but instead of random moments, we choose to post our best photos. It’s like an online diary of our best moments. For many of us, posting on Instagram is like the college version of show-and-tell.
Disadvantage: The worst part about Instagram is that it has too many advertisements. It is both confusing and annoying when you just want to see what your friends have recently posted, but the app throws in an advertisement that looks like any other post.