Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reports, studies, and a blog post

The Washington Post's, Campus Overload Blog published an intriguing post yesterday. In Fighting a Social Media Addiction, author Jenna Johnson highlights a study done by the University of Maryland in which 200 students were challenged to go without social media for 24 hours. To say they were distressed is a kind understatement.

"But just read the blogs these students wrote after the traumatic experience -- it's very easy to confuse these students with crack addicts who went cold-turkey, smokers not given the comfort of a patch while quitting, alcoholics forced to dry up. The university's new release on the study last week reported that some descriptions popped up over and over: "In withdrawal. Frantically craving. Very anxious. Extremely antsy. Miserable. Jittery. Crazy."' -- Campus Overload, 4/26/10

The study, A Day Without Media, was conducted by ICMPA and students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.

"What is is like to go without media? What if you had to give up your cell phone, iPod, television, car radio, magazines, newspapers and computer (i.e. no texting, no Facebook or IM-ing)?" -- A Day Without Media

It's not as simple as it sounds, I hesitate to divulge how many times a day I check email, Bloglines, Facebook, watch Hulu, or .... regardless, students were significantly impacted by the loss of their social media tools. This study was interesting following on two Pew Internet reports this spring: Social Media and Young Adults and Teens and Mobile Phones.

Is it any wonder libraries are exploring viable ways to use these tools to reach and teach students?

Update: 4/28/10 See also ...


waltc said...

It's interesting that commenters (including Jenna Johnson) seem to consistently misread the story to make it bigger than it is.

You quote the story's title and summary correctly. Note that it's about going without all media including radio, TV, phone, computers, etc.--not just social media. A VERY different thing.

Diane Schrecker said...

I agree. I think with such a consistent focus on teen and millennial use of social media and technology, it is easy to make those particular elements the basis of comment.

UM's press release makes clear the scope of their study, but focuses upon Social Media in the title as well.