SOCIAL MEDIA Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the largest for higher education in New Jersey, United s. In the era of social media, where effective, extensive and successful communication has become reliant upon tools of social networking, the Rutgers University communication channel is also integrated with Facebook – the highly successful social networking service boosting over one billion active users. The employment of Facebook as a means of communication amongst the students and teachers of the institution means that the official university website links information, news, resources, publications and research to the users of Facebook by providing an option to ‘share’ the desired information onto their profiles amongst other utilities.
The reason why students and teachers both use Facebook as a communication tool is primarily based upon its great accessibility and a chance to engage in interactive conversations as soon as information is posted. For example, professors and instructors can express their views and share knowledge on topics of concern in form of articles and columns penned down for news. rutgers. edu – an extension of the university’s official website that provides complete information related to the affairs of the institute, once articles are shared on Facebook through the page, teachers can interact with students and thoroughly discuss various issues in real-time by commenting on, liking and sharing the news story on their respective profiles.
This permits student engagement on various issues and incites healthy debate outside of the classroom to the student’s own convenience. Moreover, students who might feel shy, uncomfortable or are unwilling to participate in class discussions are encouraged to raise their voice as well in a virtual environment.
Facebook integration and usage for communication between students and teachers has proved more viable because of the medium’s popularity, it has been observed that news which is shared through the platform is likely to receive more views or hits on Facebook than solely on the official university website. Around 26,000 ‘likes’ for the university’s official page mean that active student users of Facebook are more likely to see information of their interest on their ‘Newsfeed’, even if they do not exclusively logon to the university website. Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has gone through a number of changes which have enabled its interface to become more user-friendly, the number of active members on the website is also an indication of its mass appeal.
The introduction of the platform in form of Android and Iphone applications also indicates that almost every smartphone user has access to his/her Facebook account on the go, by liking the official university page, students can have access to updates and information related to their institute. In the case of Rutgers University, the use of Facebook has allowed the management and staff to receive prompt student feedback and to raise awareness in general.
For example, as a part of the Rutgers University Strategic Planning Initiative, students were able to provide their feedback on general university procedures and give opinion on how to improve them. Facebook allows students and teachers to create, collaborate and also contribute towards the path of wisdom (Madge, 2009). Moreover, educationists feel that as a social media platform, Facebook has been a positive contributor in reengaging students with the educational and academic affairs of their institution (Selwyn, 2009) which is quite evident from the official Rutgers University website and Facebook page.
WEBSITE ADDRESS: www. rutgers. edu REFERENCES: Madge, C., Meek, J., Wellens, J., & Hooley, T. (2009). Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 141-155. Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: exploring students education‐related use of Facebook. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 157-174.