Networking is important for college students. After all, the ultimate goal of college not only is to earn a degree but find employment after graduation.
Thanks to mobile applications, experts said the social networking process is becoming more intuitive and personalized.
“One of the way apps have transformed the experience of social networking is now you can have a niche network within your larger Facebook network,” assistant professor of educational technology Christine Greenhow said. “You can form groups with similar interests around your interests in Facebook.”
Greenhow, an expert on social media in education, was the principle investigator on a Facebook app project called Hotfish, an app designed for people interested in environmental issues and climate change.
“Hotfish members could do a bunch of challenges like start a recycling program, or write a letter to the editor, or go to a town meeting about climate change,” she said. “So there were ways to participate in your local communities but then come into the Hotfish app and post about what you did. And that really help incentivize other Hotfish members into doing things.”
Adam Falkauff, cofounder of Water’s Edge Partners, recently launched a mobile app called REON.
REON records the time and place of every contact you enter into your phone. Falkauff said the social networking implications of the app are considerable.
“When you take a contact in your phone, it records where and when you met that person. We can search them on a map, not only where you met the person, but any of the address you have,” Falkauff said.
Media arts and technology senior Jordan Berger is a student ambassador for REON. Berger said the app especially can come in handy at college fairs.
“You’re in a position where you’re meeting a lot of people. You may not remember names. When you meet somebody, you usually don’t have them send you a text, you’ll put the number in and save it.”
Falkauff said beyond college fairs, social networking has been given a look by major institutions.
“We’ve actually spoken to some colleges that say that one of the biggest problems right now is big institutions being unable to graduate kids in four years, and they’re looking for ways for not only students to stay better connected to each other, but for students to stay better connected to staff, the services on campus,” Falkauff said.
Greenhow said interest-related apps give people something to come together around.
“There’s something about having an app for your particular interests. It’s very motivating.”