Fingers fly over keyboards, statuses are updated and students’ minds leave campus to tune in to the world of social media.
Students work and study, memorize and analyze. They even debate philosophy and politics. However, today’s great debate is much simpler than that: to friend or not to friend?
“Everyone handles their social media differently,” Demi St. John, sophomore from Edwardsville, Ill., said. “What annoys one person on Facebook might not phase someone else when they’re looking at their newsfeed. For Twitter, (some people) might tweet a lot and some people might just follow celebrities or large organizations like NASA. Although it is with everyone you know, social media is still a really individual thing.”
One of the biggest questions when it comes to social media is what is appropriate to put out for everyone to see. Timothy Tucker, freshman from Garfield, Ky., points out social media is a reflection of who you are as a person.
“I don’t like when my friends (on social media) are acting like a totally different person,” Tucker said, “Or if they get to posting things that I don’t like, pictures that aren’t appropriate for Facebook or sayings like putting too much profanity.”
Laura Boden, sophomore from Lousiville, Ky., said students have been using social media outlets as a personal information dumping grounds.
“I think people just post too much stuff about their life,” Boden said. “My rule (for social media) is not to post anything offensive to certain groups of people—certain races or gender, anything like that.”
Students say the leading reasons that cause them to unfriend or unfollow people on Facebook and Twitter range from overposting and posting political rants to using incorrect grammar or text message tendancies.
“If someone writes in all caps, that’s super annoying,” Mariah Bradley, freshman from Evansville, Ind., said. “If they constantly (wrote in all caps), like nonstop, seven posts like that in one day? I would probably unfriend them, I’m not going to lie.”
For some students like J.R. Adams, a junior from Marion, Ky., it does not take much to decide someone needs to be unfriended.
“If you send me Farmville requests every other Monday you’re going to get unfriended,” Adams said. “Usually if I don’t know you I’m going to unfriend you after awhile. If we’ve never talked, we have no relation toward each other, and I don’t know how the heck you got on my friends list, you’re probably going to be unfriended. If you just bug me in the digital world at all? Unfriended.”
Students agreed political rants were one of the worst offensives when looking at annoying social media habits. Boden said to remain on her friends list, politics and oversharing are not recommended.
“When people post remarks about political things that are just really one sided, and if someone keeps posting annoying statuses about political stuff or their personal life just because they want attention I would unfriend them,” Boden said. “(Some people) haven’t figured out the whole social media thing. They constantly post every single minute of their life and what they’re doing and who they’re hanging out with and what song they like and it’s just too much.”
Although students have strong opinions on what is annoying on social media, they also have insight into what makes a post on facebook or tweet enjoyable.
“(Statuses) that are just straight up funny,” Bradley said, “Like if anybody who reads it even if they weren’t there would think it was funny? That’s a great status.”
Humor helps when trying to come up with a status or a tweet, but Murray State students seem to agree that a sentimental tweet here or there fits expectations.
“The best type (of status is when) people (are) being thankful for things they have, “Tucker said, “Being thankful for their family or being blessed with a wonderful day.”
Boden agrees with Tucker that pleasant posts are the best ones to find on a newsfeed.
“I prefer happy things (in my newsfeed),” Boden said. “If someone had a good day, or if they got a lot accomplished, if they got an award or scholarship. Even happy quotes, things like that.”
From freshmen to upperclassmen, students agree that genuine statuses are the all-around favorite.
“I like things that are about life, maybe even a Bible verse, you know, anything that will strike a cord morally or have a purpose and not just be writing on the Internet for people to see,” Adams said. “There’s a reason for it.”
Social media allows grandparents to keep an eye on their grandkids and students to get the word out about the latest party. It gives high school friends the chance to keep in touch throughout college and roommates to share pictures of the cute girl or guy behind them in Organic Chemistry.
Murray State students are even given the ability to know virtually everything about our their local celebrities through websites like Twitter and Facebook.
Basketball player, Isaiah Canaan (@SiP03) sends out a nightly tweet informing all of his followers that he is sleeping, “Fighting Sleep #smh #imgone.”
Football player, Casey Brockman (@realWildHorse) also tweeted to his 797 followers, “That awkward moment when you realize your fantasy team is awful and the first game isn’t even over yet,” and let the campus know about his postgame activities.
Perhaps what makes the experience with social media so interesting is it reveals a different side of people and it’s a new experience every single time.
Said St. John: “Social media is so unpredictable. You never know what someone is going to post or tweet or comment, I think that’s why (we all) just keep logging on.”
Social Media & You is a three-part series. Staff writer Maddie Mucci will report on how students are using social media, how they should use social media and how the media affect job markets.
Story by Maddie Mucci, Staff writer.