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Bridge or Barrier? The Impact of Social Media on Engagement for First-Generation College Students

Thu, April 3, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Convention Center, Floor: 200 Level, Hall E


Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are an integral part of communication for today’s college students. This research explores whether this shift in communication functions to create more connections or whether it functions as another avenue for social reproduction of privilege for first-generation college students. Analysis on how first-generation students use social media to build and maintain social connections along with what factors most impact the formation of social capital through social media suggests that first-generation students use social media less than their peers, especially in building new relationships and in learning about events on campus. Despite this, social media use is still an important tool in making connections to peers and faculty on campus for first-generation students.