Online social networks (OSNs) have permeated all generations of Internet users, becoming a prominent communications tool, particularly in the student community. Thus, academic institutions and faculty are increasingly using social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to connect with current and potential students and to deliver instructional content. This has led to a rise in questions about the impact of OSN on academic performance and the possibility of using it as an effective teaching tool. To learn more about the impact on academic performance, we conducted a survey of business students at a large state university. Survey results were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM). The results revealed a statistically significant negative relationship between time spent by students on OSN and their academic performance. The time spent on OSN was found to be heavily influenced by the attention span of the students. Specifically, we determined that the higher the attention span, the lower is the time spent on OSN. Further, attention span was found to be highly correlated with characteristics that predict or influence student behavior, such as their perceptions about society’s view of social networking, their likes and dislikes of OSN, ease of use of OSN, etc.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jdcochran/6/