Letters from the dorm: Social media can be used to enhance your life, don't avoid it

Letters from the dorm: Social media can be used to enhance your life, don't avoid it

Admittedly, the first thing that I do every morning (after snoozing that annoying alarm) is to check my Facebook page for new messages, events, "likes", comments, and news feeds.

This confession may be common among college students. Social media networks such as Facebook can be addictive, because we are interested in what our friends are doing. After all, we are social animals who love our friends. Friends?

As social media becomes more widespread, the definition of a "friend" has also broadened. In addition to expanding its meaning to include more people, the word "friend" has also become a verb.

Often, friend requests come from strangers. Sometimes it's spamming, or trolling, but not always. Many times last year I decided to "friend" people whom I had never met, because I would be meeting them within months as a proud Pomona College freshman.

I found it bizarre yet fascinating how this provided a novel way of "meeting" new friends. Just imagine: you see someone walking towards you. Instead of introducing yourself, you immediately match the person's face with his or her Facebook image: not just the physical appearance, but also everything else - hobbies, potential majors, favourite movies and books, the reason why that person decided to come to Pomona College …

When my friending experiment first began, I knew that it would be daring, because people might criticise it. I have found this to be true.

Whenever I'm introduced as "This is April. I met her through Facebook", I felt awkward because of the bad reputation people get if they overuse sites like Facebook. My friends assured me that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I agree: connecting with people and actively reaching out to others are essential skills for us.

On campus, I've further benefited from social media networks, as many events are marketed largely through this virtual platform. Those invitations motivate me to get up in the morning, and I am always excitedly marking my iCal with new events that will help brighten my days ahead. Apart from minimising the need for posters to be distributed around campus, social media also personalises the invitation process.

Although arguments against overusing social media websites do make sense, we should consider the benefits at the same time. Namely, social media can enrich our college experience.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Don't fear social media


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