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More Friends on Facebook? More Likely to Graduate

Back when I joined Facebook, eleventy billion years ago, you couldn’t sign up for it unless you had a .edu email address.  The service was only for college students (and adventurous professors).  As it turns out, the service may have extensive utility for college students, outside of finding someone’s cell number or dorm room.  Oh, and all that social stuff.

Students who are more present on Facebook may be more likely to graduate.

According to a study by the Abilene Christian University and published in the Journal of College Student Retention, freshmen who decided to come back for another year had more wall posts and Facebook friends than those who dropped out, by a statistically significant amount. 

Said Jason Morris, author of the journal article,

The study was able to show that these students who are more active on Facebook are also out there getting involved, making new friends and taking part of activities that the university provides for them.

Photo albums created and Facebook groups joined, two factors that one might think would be relevant to students who were “getting involved” and “taking part of activities,” didn’t show any variation between returning students and non-returning ones.  On the other hand, photo album creation depends heavily on whether you’re the kind of person who takes photos, and Facebook groups are rarely indicative of anything factual in the slightest.

In their defense, the researchers in the study pointed out that, due to their inherent numerical structure, studying online social groups has the ability to be more accurate than studying offline social structures.

Instead of using [students’] perceptions, we remeasured … with actual behaviors, which makes that a little more powerful as a study.

I guess now that I’ve graduated I can unfriend all those people I haven’t seen since high school?

(via Wired.)

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