CECILIA RIOS-AGUILAR Claremont Graduate University, REGINA DEIL-AMEN, The University of Arizona, and GREG RATLIFF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Today’s college students have embraced social media/social networking sites. As such, social media has become a major part of their lives. These technologies are reshaping the way students communicate generally and within their college community. Despite the widespread use of social media, little is known about the benefits of its use in diverse contexts (e.g., community colleges) and for specific purposes (e.g., social, academic, and professional engagement of students). This paper examines if and how commuter-based community colleges attempt to use social media as a mechanism to increase students’ connection to college. Using data from a social media platform–the Schools App–implemented in 9 community colleges across the U.S., we examine students’ social networks and the content of the interactions in the virtual community.
Findings reveal relatively low-dense social networks. Furthermore, findings show that the major
use of the app seems to be to gain organizational and college-going procedural help and information – navigating the community college institution and their college pursuit more broadly.


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