Online Social Networks and Social Integration

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Online Social Networks and Social Integration. Bryan C. Koval, M.Ed. The George Washington University HEA Cohort 11. About Bryan. Coordinator for Community Standards and Housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Actively engaged in a number of online social networks - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Online Social Networks and Social Integration

Online Social Networks and Social IntegrationBryan C. Koval, M.Ed.The George Washington UniversityHEA Cohort 11About BryanCoordinator for Community Standards and Housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University in PittsburghActively engaged in a number of online social networksFacebook, Twitter (#SAChat community)Contributor to the Student Affairs Collaborative Blog ( and HigherEdCareerCoach.comOverview of the Research PurposeOnline social networks are a major part of the typical college students daily routine, but we do not clearly understand how these sites impact students.I hope to find out more about how students use these sites, and how engagement with online social networks contributes to social integration on campus (if it does).ContextFacebook reports that 500 million active users utilize their service, half of whom access the site on any given day (Facebook statistics, 2010)Between February of 2008 and February of 2009 the number of users on Facebook who update their status daily increased from 4 million to 15 million (Hempel and Kowitt, 2009)70% of all Facebook users living outside of the United States (Facebook statistics, 2010)

College Students and FacebookAfter one semester of college, 95.5% of students surveyed said that they had a Facebook account (Lampe, Ellison, & Steinfield, 2006).69% of respondents accessed the site for less than 30 minutes each day, while 12% of the respondents said that they were on Facebook for over an hour a day.Online Social Networks MatterIf one is not a member of the online campus community, she is missing out on an important part of campus life . . . there is a consciousness about Facebook that pervades social life (Martinez Aleman & Wartman, 2009, p. 57)

6While higher education professionals are interested in social networking sites, and are often personally engaged in their use, they often dismiss Facebook and other sites as a waste of time or a distraction (Gasman, 2010)

Ive been on Facebook, and its a giant time sink.Students need to get off their computers and learn how to communicate face-to-face. Read a book.But so what? Lets think about online social networks in terms of retention.Social integration is one of the key factors for retention in Tintos model of college departure (Braxton, 2000)The more an individual is integrated into their college or university, the stronger their commitment will be to that specific institution and to the goal of graduating from college (Mannan, 2000)

How does social integration work?Social integration occurs mainly through informal interactions with peers, extracurricular activities, and interacting with faculty members and administrators at the institution (Tinto, 1975). When students successfully navigate these experiences, they enjoy the benefits of social communication, friendship support, faculty support, and collective affiliation with the institution. When all other factors are controlled for social integration should increase the probability that a student will remain in college.

If Im a student who is engaged in online social networks, does that work in the same way as more traditionally accepted types of student engagement (clubs, residence hall communities, etc)? So the question is . . . Research QuestionsIs there a relationship between the use of online social networking sites and the development of social integration among undergraduate college students?

Are there particular activities within online social networking sites that are strong predictors of social integration? The project thus far . . . Enthusiasm has been generated.The literature review is underway.To this point I have not found another similar study.Currently faced with 100+ articles on technology, online social networks, and retention to read and digest.Im thinking about different angles I hadnt previously considered (real vs. virtual worlds, etc.)My dissertation has a chair and an additional committee member.Bryan C. Koval, M.Ed. @bryan_kovalDissertation Blog: me some feedback!ReferencesBoyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. Retrieved from, J. M. (2000). Reworking the student departure puzzle. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp. 1-10) [Introduction]. Nashville, TV: Vanderbilt University Press. Facebook statistics. (2010). Retrieved August 4, 2010, from Facebook website:, M. (2010, June 20). A confession: I like Facebook [Web log post]. Retrieved from The Chronicle of Higher Education Innovations:, J., & Kowitt, B. (2009). How Facebook is taking over our lives. Fortune, 159(4), 48-56. Retrieved from Lampe, C., Ellison, N., and Steinfield, C. 2006. A face(book) in the crowd: Social Searching vs. social browsing. In Proceedings of the 2006 20th Anniversary Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (Banff, Alberta, Canada, November 04 - 08, 2006). ACM, New York, NY, 167-170. DOI=, M. A. (2007). Student attrition and academic and social integration: Application of Tintos model at the University of Papua New Guinea. Higher Education, 53(2), 147-165. doi:10.1007/s10734-005-2496-y Martinez Aleman, A. M., & Wartman, K. L. (2009). Chapter 3: Students speak: Campus culture, identity, and Facebook. In Online social networking on campus: Understanding what matters in student culture (pp. 43-88). New York, NY: Routledge.Tinto, V. (1975, Winter). Dropout From Higher Education: A Theoretical Synthesis of Recent Research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89-125.