Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

Facebook Usage Causes Stronger Relationships Among Wealthier College Students


Happy Wednesday everyone! Today we come to you with some interesting findings from a new study conducted by Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor, Reynol Junco. Junco surveyed 2,359 students to assess how gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status affect a student’s time spent on and usage of Facebook.

According to the study, students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to engage in seven out of the 14 activities the study lists as core activities utilized by students on Facebook. Some of these include: tagging photos, chatting on the site, messaging privately and RSVPing to events. Junco states that students of lower SES (socioeconomic status) are not using Facebook in the way that it was intended versus their wealthier counterparts – “for communicating, connecting and sharing with others.”

As we’ve wrote about in past posts, some studies and opposing arguments against social media believe they can be harmful to one’s academic achievements, as well as hindering their real-world face-to-face relationships with others. Some people’s lives have been consumed by social media, but as Junco found there may be some added benefits.

Junco believes the interactions students make on Facebook are beneficial to their overall experience on-campus and leads to stronger relationships with one another. He goes on to state “that the seven Facebook activities that are less popular among students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are all important facilitators of inter-peer communication, and that abstaining from those activities means those students risk not forming as close bonds with others on their campus as they otherwise would.”

“Using Facebook for communication and connection with fellow students helps strengthen social bonds, which leads to a greater sense of commitment to the institution and to increased motivation to perform better academically,” Junco states.

This study seems to couple with our higher education social media study we featured a few weeks ago. Junco states “students have to feel a sense of connection to the institution within their first three to six weeks, and if they don’t feel a sense of connection to the institution … then they’re at risk of not coming back.” As we found in our study, higher education (specifically Admission offices) are utilizing social media to engage students, sharing information with them to help build communities and allowing them to interact with current students to see how life is on campus.

Though we can go on about how social media can impact or hinder a student’s overall performance or strengthening his or her relationships with their peers, what are your thoughts on Junco’s findings? Do you feel individuals of higher SES are more likely to use social media tools versus those of lower SES? Let us know what you think!

For a complete look at the article by The Huffington Post which features the study we’ve discussed, please follow the link below. Until next time everyone!


Filed under: Fun Articles, Social Media

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