sites such as MySpace, Xanga, and
Friendster. Considering the amount of
time students spend on these sites and
the importance these sites have in many
students’ lives, the class divisions among
students must play a role in our strategies
and initiatives aimed at promoting interaction between
students of different backgrounds.
Finally, this research speaks to very concrete issues facing
many student affairs administrators who are using or
considering using Facebook or other similar sites. While
it is inexpensive and easy to use these tools to advertise to,
interact with, or collaborate with students, we must be
cognizant of those students who do not use these tools.
The traditional “digital divide” between those who have
ready access to technology and those who do not still exists
on many campuses. This research reminds us that there are
other more subtle and sometimes systematic divides
between users of different online services and tools.
Neither student affairs researchers nor administrators can
afford to continue focusing exclusively or too heavily on
Facebook. Technology changes too quickly for us to tie
ourselves too closely to one particular service. Nor can we
risk focusing on a particular service when we know that
there are populations of students who systematically choose
to not use that service.
Kevin R. Guidry is a doctoral student in the higher education and
student affairs program at Indiana University in Bloomington and a
project associate at the National Survey of Student Engagement. He
was formerly an information technology fellow at University of the
South in Sewanee, Tenn.