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Social Media and College: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Social Media and College: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Jim Larkin and Jack Powers

Just like your offline social life, social media can help your education or torpedo it. Personality type, which offers cues into how we think, act and communicate, also correlates with aspects of social media use.  In its Myers-Briggs® Type and Social Media Report  CPP found that, for example, Extraverts were more likely to use social media in general for both personal and professional purposes, and Feeling types were more likely to browse, interact and share personal info on Facebook.

By understanding our personality type, we can avoid certain social media pitfalls and make our favorite social apps a productive part of our college experience.

Ignoring LinkedIn

Respondents of all 16 types reported using Facebook more than LinkedIn. Let’s be honest, Facebook is more fun (LinkedIn can be fun too, but in a more ‘grown-up’ kind of way). While professional benefits of Facebook are uncertain, LinkedIn can be a big help when it comes to graduating well-connected and getting a job.

Those preferring Introversion, Sensing and Feeling use LinkedIn less than those preferring Extraversion, Intuition and Thinking. In fact, ENTJs were 4x more likely to report actively using LinkedIn than ISFPs. If you prefer I, S or F, you may want to flex your type preferences to schedule regular time on LinkedIn, and begin building your professional network.

laptop blunderPosting the regrettable

If you’re an Extravert, you may be inclined to process while you talk. In the natural world there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but the cyberworld broadcasts to the entire online population of humanity, and leaves a record too. What you say may very well be held against you in any number of capacities, so before you post, ask yourself if you’re comfortable with a future employer, co-worker (or even spouse or kids) seeing your entire train of thought.

Even in the offline world you should be wary of publicly venting about professors. On Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s a bad idea…period. As a matter of due course, parents and teachers alike counsel young people to “think before you talk” — bold, italicize, underline, and footnote* that advice for social media.

Getting sucked into the social media time warpTime pressure on a woman with red background

Have you logged into Facebook only to realize that an hour has transpired in what feels like 10 minutes? In general, those preferring Perceiving, who are less likely to schedule their time than their Judging counterparts, may more easily fall victim to the social media time warp. If you prefer Perceiving, you may want flex your type and plan your social media use. Set a time to log off — if you assume you’ll naturally log off in a reasonable time frame, you’re probably orbiting a little too close to the social media time warp’s event horizon.

Using social media in a way that conflicts with your learning preferences

Social media as a learning tool is still in experimental stage, but it is definitely a part of the future educational experience. If you prefer Sensing, you feel most comfortable absorbing information in a sequential, step by step way. This might make the chaotic, unpredictable nature of social media a frustrating medium for obtaining information. You can counter this by going in with a plan — identify beforehand what you’re looking for.

*You read the footnote — we’re impressed!

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