Nav: Home

Facebook can help college students with lower confidence build relationships

July 23, 2019

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Facebook can help first-semester college students maintain relationships with high school friends and assist them in creating new friendships, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York. When it comes to making new friends, those with higher confidence in their social skills have less to gain from relying on Facebook, while people with lower confidence in their social skills have more to gain from a reliance on the social media platform.

"Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for many students. To help them adjust to life in college, it is critical for them to maintain connections with pre-college friends and to form new relationships," said Surinder Kahai, associate professor of management information systems at Binghamton University's School of Management.

For the study, Kahai and fellow researcher, SUNY College at Old Westbury's Yu Lei, focused on first-semester college students by surveying undergraduate college students, mostly sophomores, about their experiences with different channels used to maintain and grow relationships.

Accounting for Facebook's effect on relationships versus the impact of more traditional media (face-to-face interaction, phone calls, etc.), researchers also incorporated how each student's social self-efficacy (confidence in their social skills) affected the use of both Facebook and traditional media to build and maintain relationships.

"You've known your high school friends for a long time. You're not shy in front of them and you can act naturally," said Kahai. "But when it comes to making new friends in college, your ability to be social and open yourself up to new people will matter. If you have low self-efficacy, you may need to rely more on social media to make up for less face-to-face interaction."

In terms of how "best" to use Facebook to maintain and build new relationships, some of the findings include:
  • Facebook can compensate for the lower use of traditional media to maintain relationships with close friends from high school.
  • Facebook works best when supplementing traditional media when it comes to making new college friends.
  • Students with high self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritizing traditional media over Facebook when making new college friends.
  • Students with low self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritizing Facebook use over traditional media when making new college friends.
Kahai said the findings are relevant to university officials and counselors helping new students adjust to college life.

"New college students often stress about trying to maintain their high school friendships while struggling to develop new ones. These findings can help counselors advise students on how to balance the use of social media and traditional media to enhance their new and older friendships," said Kahai.

Kahai believes that any long-distance relationship can be maintained with the right use of media, which served as some of his motivation to conduct this study.

"If there is an intent to continue the relationship, you can make it happen. Whether you use phone calls, snail mail or Facebook, if you want to maintain a relationship, you can," he said.

And with the growing presence of social media in the lives of college students, Kahai recommends to stop focusing on the "is social media good or bad?" debate.

"It's here, it's not going away. It's a part of society now," said Kahai. "The results of our study suggest that instead of asking whether or not Facebook builds relationships and social capital, we should be focusing on finding the conditions in which it does."
The study, "Building social capital with Facebook: Type of network, availability of other media, and social self-efficacy matter," was published in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

Binghamton University

Related Social Media Articles:

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.
Using social media to understand the vaccine debate in China
Vaccine acceptance is a crucial public health issue, which has been exacerbated by the use of social media to spread content expressing vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccine misinformation and social media
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
How social media makes breakups that much worse
Even those who use Facebook features like unfriending, unfollowing, blocking and Take a Break still experience troubling encounters with ex-partners online, a new study shows.
Teens must 'get smart' about social media
New research indicates that social media is leading young adolescent girls and boys down a worrying path towards developing body image issues and eating disorder behaviours - even though they are smartphone savvy.
Social media use and disordered eating in young adolescents
New research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders suggests that social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing, is associated with disordered eating in young adolescents.
STD crowd-diagnosis requests on social media
Online postings seeking information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the social media website Reddit were analyzed to see how often requests were made for a crowd-diagnosis and whether the requested diagnosis was for a second opinion after seeing a health care professional.
Cynical social media voices can erode trust in news media
Amid rising concerns about low public trust in mainstream media institutions, a Rutgers study found that real-life and online social interactions can strongly influence a person's trust in newspaper, TV and online journalism -- but when it comes to online interactions, cynical views are the most influential.
Social media use by adolescents linked to internalizing behaviors
A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to report high levels of internalizing behaviors compared to adolescents who do not use social media at all.
Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.
More Social Media News and Social Media Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at