Facebook social groups: they’re everywhere. Unless you’ve been actively avoiding them, or you simply do not Facebook, you’ve probably been invited to one (or several). They are certainly good in intention, but have become more of a forum for students to promote their pop culture fandoms and avoid the wonderful tool of Google. Some of the frosh/ class of… groups are regulated by either responsible admins or even the school, but many others are littered with spam and attention seeking internet trolls. After filtering through these kinds of posts, what you’re left with is confused students asking a hundred questions, and random, comment-seeking posts.
Although I have been able to connect with a few students in my program through social media, a lot of the group has just taught me who needs to put the phone down once in a while, and who I should really avoid if I ever happen upon them.
In an attempt to review my group, I have created a list of pros and cons relating specifically to a school regulated, student group for my year.
Access to a listing of students in your program. (if they are willing to share their information)
A good reference to upcoming deadlines, emails and events.
Solid advice from select second and third year students.
Other students thoughts to common issues or questions.
Learning who likes to cause trouble and/or complain.
Discovering people who are actually clever and or/funny
An overload of posts and notifications (unless you turn them off)
Too many students
a) asking the same questions
b) complaining about various administration errors
c) attempting to create trending hashtags such as #teamhomeless or #brokestudentlyfe
Ridiculous amount of people posting selfies and course schedules.
Students looking for their one roommate.
So in conclusion, the group can often be a good networking tool and general forum for advice, however, it is the internet, so prepare for many pointless arguments and inquiries. Really it depends on the environment of the students and the regulations of the group. So far the experience has been positive in terms of students being respectful and accepting towards each other.
In addition to the large frosh/class of… group, I would suggest searching for groups of clubs or associations that intrigue you. I joined a group for the photography club at my school and have already connected with so many passionate photographers who share my interests. Groups are also great for advertising and finding apartments, textbooks and other student essentials. Depending on the school, some may have smaller regional groups with an older student as an admin and mentor. These groups are great for any real questions you may want answered by a student as opposed to school staff.
And of course, always remember to be respectful and polite via social media! The schools do often take strict measures on illegal or offensive internet activity. Use the internet wisely, and social media as a networking tool rather than a diary. Happy posting!