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Social Networks, Undergrads, Grades and Growth

May 3, 2009
Danah Boyd
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Danah Boyd posted about Facebook and how it impacts undergrads.

The post discusses the media’s treatment to some findings around Facebook use and the correlation to high/low grades. Boyd, Microsoft Research’s new star and a social-media guru with great crowd of followers, focuses on teen use of social networks. It is imperative to clarify and break the media’s distortion of social networks use and its impact on teenagers:

Given the way that these things typically turn out, I doubt that many journalists will be clamoring to scream, “We were wrong! Facebook doesn’t cause bad grades!” This is a sad reality of media sensationalism. Unfortunately for all of us, when scholars (or students) disseminate findings based on poor methodology that reinforce myths that the media wants to propagate, they get picked up even if they are patently untrue and can be disproved through multiple alternative data sets. Even though I doubt this article will make it into mainstream media, I hope that some of you will take the time to make it clear to those around you that the media coverage of this story was patently ridiculous and unfounded. Or at least start by reading the article: “Facebook and academic performance: Reconciling a media sensation with data.”

Social networks are enhancing online connections as well as contributing to pool of personal and professional knowledge. You can use it for procrastination and you can use it to grow knowledge. It has the ability to enhance one’s knowledge as well as others see him – it depends on the individual, not the network.

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