Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Online Social Networking on Campus

Understanding What Matters in Student Culture, 1st Edition

By Ana M. Martínez-Alemán, Katherine Lynk Wartman


156 pages

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In the era of such online spaces as Facebook, Instant Messenger, Live Journal, Blogger, Web Shots, and campus blogs, college students are using these resources and other online sites as a social medium. Inevitably, this medium presents students with ethical decisions about social propriety, self disclosure and acceptable behaviour. Because online social networking sites have proven problematic for college students and for college administrators, this book aims to offer professional guidance to Higher Education administrators and policy makers. Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding what matters in student culture is a professional guide for Higher Education faculty and Student Affairs administrators, which rigorously examines college students’ use of online social networking sites and how they use these to develop relationships both on and off campus. Most importantly, Online Social Networking on Campus investigates how college students use online sites to explore and makes sense of their identities. Providing information taken from interviews, surveys and focus group data, the book presents an ethnographic view of social networking that will help Student Affairs administrators, Information Technology administrators, and faculty better understand and provide guidance to the "neomillennials" on their campuses.


"An enlightening and challenging look at the ways in which students use social networking online to explore their individual and collective identities…Online Social Networking on Campus would be a wonderful text for a graduate seminar on contemporary issues in college student development or student affairs. The book would serve equally well as the centerpiece of a professional development reading group discussion. The authors are to be congratulated on their thoughtful and thought-provoking work, and you are encouraged to get involved in the conversation through picking up a copy of this book soon."--George S. McClellan, Journal of College Student Development, July/August 2009, Vol 50 No 4, 468-469

"This book will be useful for anyone with a specific interest in university students and their use of Facebook, or as an example of how to conduct a study of this nature". - Learning, Media and Technology, 35:1

"This book is one means of becoming more educated about the many ways in which students, and even administrators, can take advantage of Facebook to enhance the college student experience. It also provides a good resource for those who are unfamiliar with Facebook and the culture created online through this somewhat new and developing technology."—Review of Higher Education

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction: Campus Life Online

Chapter 2 Emergence and Acceleration: Computer-Mediated Communication and the College Student

  • The rise of the technological generation and the construction of individual identity and college culture
  • Internet history and use
  • Development of online social networking sites
  • Social networking sites as cultural phenomenon: Generally and on campus
  • College Student Identity: Issues and research on online social networking sites

Chapter 3 Students Speak: Campus Culture, Identity and Facebook

  • Facebook Primer
  • What Students Report about Their Facebook Use

  • Student Portraits
    • Kris
    • Jordan
    • Teresa
    • Matthew

  • Our Observations

Chapter 4 The New Campus Reality: Facebook and Student Affairs Practice

  • Do Administrators Belong on Facebook?
  • Student Leaders as Cultural Translators
  • Orienting Students to Campus Culture, both Real and Online
  • Supporting Student Development in the Expanding Campus Community

Chapter 5 The Future of the Campus Social Graph

  • What is the future of online social networking on campus?
  • Changing demographic of Facebook and Online Social Networks
  • Global Growth
  • New Niche Users
  • Post Script




Author Biographies

About the Authors

Ana M. Martínez Alemán is Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, Educational Theory, and Teachers College Record, and other scholarly journals. She has contributed to Women in Academe: The Unfinished Agenda (2008), Gendered Futures in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives for Change (2003) and Feminist Interpretations of John Dewey (2002). She is the co-author (with Kristen A. Renn) of Women in Higher Education: An Encyclopedia (2002).

Katherine Lynk Wartman is a PhD candidate at Boston College where her research interests include college student culture, the first-year experience, college access, and the parent-student relationship. She is also a resident director at Simmons College in Boston, MA and has served as Parent and Family Relations and Special Projects Administrator at Colby-Sawyer College. She is the co-author (with Marjorie B. Savage) of Parental Involvement in Higher Education; Understanding the Relationship among Students, Parents, and the Institution (2008), a volume in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Higher Education Report Series.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Students & Student Life
EDUCATION / Computers & Technology