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Engaging Students through Social Media: Evidence-Based Practices for Use in Student Affairs 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1118647455
ISBN-10: 1118647459
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In today’s technology-driven world, it is essential for student affairs professionals to understand how students interact with social media and how it can be used to enhance educational outcomes, engagement, and retention.

Written by Reynol Junco—a noted researcher and expert on the effects of social media on youth psychosocial development, engagement, and learning—Engaging Students through Social Media outlines a research-based and practical plan for implementing effective social media strategies within higher education settings. This groundbreaking book reveals how social media is already being used in effective ways across disciplines and how it can best be used to meet the goals of student affairs professionals.

As the author explains, the benefits of social media engagement include a wealth of positive outcomes such as improvements in critical thinking skills, content knowledge, diversity appreciation, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, community engagement, and student persistence. Based on Junco’s extensive research and that of established scholars in the field, the book dispels commonly held myths about the effects of social media on students and explores how to successfully integrate social media into both formal and informal learning environments, offering evidence-based practices that can be applied to any educator’s curricular development process.

Engaging Students through Social Media gives higher education professionals a clear understanding and appreciation of the value of adopting evidence-based practices for implementing social media effectively.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Engaging Students through Social Media

“A must-read for student affairs professionals, this book makes accessible the latest research on the promise and challenges of social media in learning contexts, and injects important new insight into the controversial debate about the future of education in the digital age.”
—Urs Gasser, professor of practice, Harvard Law School, and executive director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

“In this beautifully explained and thoroughly accessible book, Reynol Junco guides educators and student affairs professionals so they can better understand their students’ seemingly ubiquitous social media activities. His evidence-based approach debunks myths, allays fears and, most important, empowers those responsible for students’ well-being to empower the students in their care.”
—Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science; author of Children, Risk, and Safety Online

“Rey Junco’s important new book provides a valuable corrective to rhetoric demonizing youth engagement with Facebook and other social networks. Armed with a wealth of research, including his own in-depth studies, Junco shows that social network services are an important locus for students’ identity development and an important space for student affairs professionals to understand and navigate.”
—Ethan Zuckerman, director, Center for Civic Media, MIT and principal research scientist, MIT Media Lab

“This is the book student affairs practitioners and educators have been waiting for! Dr. Junco provides thoughtful evidence and practical applications to use social media in their departments’ student engagement plans.”
—Ed Cabellon, director, Campus Center, Bridgewater State University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118647459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118647455
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Junco's message is clear: social media are part of student life, there is actually good evidence towards how students' use of social media interacts with their educational and personal lives, and educational practitioners should leverage this evidence in their approaches to engagement, learning, and development.
In short: how students use social media becomes a better question than whether students should use social media.

The key contribution of this book is actually two-fold. First, its clear explanations dispel myths and fears about social media in the classroom by drawing on a wide corpus of recent `large n' experimental data. At the same time, the book leverages these datasets to suggest effective modes, frameworks, and evaluation methods that practitioners can use to introduce social media tools for specific goals within student affairs and broader educative goals.
Although each chapter is distinct, readers will come to recognise the various studies and themes that make up the overall arc of the book. One such theme unique from many other books on social media is the importance of rigour and method (Junco writes from a background of psychology, biased towards quantitative methods). Although clearly and diplomatically argued, it is evident that Junco has no time for questionable interpretation of statistical data that can misrepresent evidence. The conclusions in the book (which include findings from Junco's own research as well as other studies) are cautious and almost circumspect in their claims. Indeed, Chapter 6 provides a detailed reminder on what a methodologically sound framework might look like if one were to use social media as part of a learning environment.
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Format: Hardcover
Engaging Students Through Social Media offers a fantastic perspective of social media and how technology can impact college students’ development. From the very first pages, Junco offers a critical investigation into the foundation of not only social technologies and how they have developed over time, but also student development theory. In doing so, he provides the reader with a strong grasp on the underpinnings of the content matter.

Junco describes two ways in which social media can be viewed, the adult normative or youth normative perspective. The adult normative perspective is described as being one that may view social media as negative and unwilling to learn or engage with social platforms, while the youth normative perspective is one that embraces utilization of social media and integrates it with daily tasks. Many professionals may approach social media use in student affairs from the adult normative perspective; however, it is critical to consider how students view social media tools in order to leverage those tools effectively. Junco frequently refers back to these two lenses throughout the book.

It would be hard to talk about social media and not consider how it may impact a student’s identity development and Junco did not overlook a topic so many student affairs professionals are interested in. A great deal of students engage with technology at an early age, and understanding how technology can impact psychosocial development is critical. Junco references a number of development theories in Chapter 3, but my main take away was the idea that social media’s power in identity development lies in the affordances it offers users to participate in particular interest groups or experiment with particular social behaviors that may be otherwise not possible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some fantastic things have been said about this book in other reviews, and I won't rehash most of what has already been said.

Instead, I want to focus on the two things that made me most appreciate this book.

First, Dr. Junco's research is thorough and convincing. When discussing these issues it is very easy to rely solely on anecdotal information and hearsay instead of substantive research. Dr. Junco's book does a marvelous job of tracing the important research (both technology-related and otherwise) in a way that is easy to follow and leaves little left to the imagination. Especially for new professionals and graduate students, it is this aspect of the book that will most help them sell the importance of social media to those in the adult normative frame.

Second, Dr. Junco navigates the line between speaking digital native and digital immigrant deftly throughout the entire book. He alternately breezes past the role of reddit and 4Chan while also describing the use and importance of hashtags. If nothing else, technologically literate new professionals and graduate students should look to this book as a guide for speaking about technology with those who are less comfortable.

All in all, this is a must-have for any student affairs professional interested in technology as a whole.

Full disclosure: I am mentioned very briefly in this book. However, my part was so small that I feel comfortable being objective about the rest of the content therein.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As someone who has studied the impact of technology for more than three decades I was excited to read this book. Even though I prefer paper books I eagerly "opened" my e-book and started right in. After reading the entire book I have to say two things. First, I am very impressed with how Dr. Junco takes a complex field and distills the research into understandable and valuable advice to inform the educational process. Second, I disagree that this book is "only" for those who are in student affairs. THIS BOOK IS FOR ANYONE WHO IS AN EDUCATOR and wants to understand the importance of social media and how to milk that drive seen in teens and young adults to constantly check in with their social media sites and constantly post, comment and like on a variety of platforms that seem to expand exponentially. Dr. Junco provides the research background (and his vast research publication list and the number of times his work is cited is a testament to his standing in the field) and his professional experience to help us understand the role of social media in life and thus be able to craft how to use social media in the educational system. His message is clear and well formulated and any educator would benefit from reading this landmark book.
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