Thursday, 22 December 2011

Social network is what students make of it. For many, it’s truly serve as distraction that makes it hard to study, and for many others, it’s a valuable tool. At any rate social network has greatly changed how students interact on college in a very short period of time and until something else comes along, it appears to be here to stay.
There are sundry social network site. To name a few are facebook, twitter, linkedln, myspace, ning and google plus. Facebook is the most visited site consisting 500 million users worldwide since its launch in 2004.
Just take a tour in the Mombasa polytechnic university college digital lab today. The prevailed lab is students opened into their various social network sites and very busy chatting with their comrades. At least 85% of the scholars are on their facebook pages enjoying the imposition of web 2 technology which enhance communication.
You may mistake students as doing their class projects in the lab if you are not keen. They are busy updating status, looking pictures or commenting to their friend’s statuses. And those who you may think are busy doing something contractive must have minimize their facebook pages or have opened two pages of which one is a social site.
For this matter, many questions have cropped up from parents, lectures and other educational stakeholders in conjunction to facebook and education in institutions’.
“Is social network good for college students? Has it added valuable element to college life, or does it distract from quality education and social experience?” these are among the sentiments stakeholders wondered.
The Mombasa polytechnic assistant head of computing department Mr. Edwin Mwangi cited lack of sensitization through an open forum to the students as the cause of facebook addiction. He added that social network sites are very addictive that why it has taken the better parts of the scholars.
“The situation will be worse should the wireless internet laid out 5 kilometer radius beyond the polytechnic.”  He reiterated.
I guess you will agree with me that the advent of social sites is undermining the use of libraries by students killing the reading culture nowadays. Libraries are not books shrines or stores but centers of knowledge.  Our nation will be far behind unless the effort put on social network is translated to books.
Genuinely, what dominate the discussion in facebook are merely relationships which are paltry in terms of education. These relationships have apparently promoted public drama as students have always been fighting about who is dating who, who is dosing which does not promote friendship or civility.
Digital centre system data operator Salome Nyale confirmed that facebook distraction goes every where a student can go, even at home students visit cyber cafes.
“Most students spend about four hours off class time visiting their relevant social network sites. Bored students miss classes to spend the whole day facebooking.” Salome added.
On the other hand she argued that social network depends on how the students take it. Most students log onto facebook to meet classmates a head of time and to participate on class work discussion while others take it just for fun.
On the contrary, Fatma Mtsumi a second year student in broadcast journalism argues that facebook offers her the opportunity to create a positive self image.
“My profile gives me a chance to create the image of myself by putting my best qualities on my profile” Mtsumi added.
She also continues that facebook offers a good way to make connections with people with similar interest and goals.
Currently the digital center is on the process of blocking all social network sites in all computers in the digital center to disparage the students from wasting time. This mitigates the besieged polytechnic from loss opportunity of education and effectively utilizes what is on offer to them.