Class of 2015 Study Reveals Shifts in College Students’ Media Behavior and Perspectives
Students are self-aware of the downside of social media and have become more reserved in sharing content, often posting only the content that they are passionate about.
That was one of the findings from University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Telecommunication Professor and Director of Consumer Media Research Sylvia Chan-Olmsted’s four-year media consumption study “Class of 2015–Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives.” Dr. Chan-Olmsted, with Nielsen VP of Measurement Innovation Dr. Ed Cohen, presented the findings at the Nielsen Total Audio client conference, Dec. 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
The study tracked media behavior and perspectives of University of Florida students as freshmen in 2011 through their senior year in 2015. Some of the other key findings from the study include:
- Old media are seen as something that is retro, nostalgic. They are used when the students have more time, want to feel relaxed, be disconnected from their busy digital lives, there are major events (i.e., appointment TV), and want to socialize through the consumption setting.
- Traditional media seems to be seen as more relational than functional because many functions are replaced by more convenient digital distribution platforms.
- Radio has always been a personal medium. It needs some kind of value proposition and connection with the audience.
- The utility of Facebook has changed over time from expression and communication with peers to more image management, work, and family oriented. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were popular in year 1; by year 4, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram became more popular – more visual media in year 4.
- The students have a love-hate relationship with Facebook and are becoming more reflective about the platform. But they cannot leave the platform because of network effect. They might try out new platforms but still keep the existing platforms.
- Social media is where they get their news at the initial stage. Facebook and Twitter are important news sources. Talents from media organizations that they follow on Twitter are sources of info.
- Although students monitor and contribute to Facebook and other social media sites, they reveal their low tolerance for excessive or vapid posts by others, ranting, self-promotion, and the way some use social media as a source of validation.
- The students are reflective of their social and mobile media use. They are very self-aware of their dependency on these digital media. They know the negative implications of the dependency, but continue to use them because of functional dependency and network effect.
- The students are reflective about how mobile phones have changed their lives, and that their attachment to mobile phones has resulted in less face-to-face interaction, lack of engagement with people, and a greater propensity to ignore their surroundings.
For a more complete summary of key points, click here: Class of 2015 Themes and Information – Summary.