The average college student spends about two to six hours a day surfing the Web. Most of these hours are spent sending e-mails, reading the news, streaming videos, downloading music and checking the weather.
The concept of social networks has grown rapidly among college students at The University of Texas at Austin. In a poll conducted among university students, more than 80 percent said they have a Facebook account. Facebook has replaced social networks like MySpace and Hi5 and students report spending 30 minutes to two hours on the site per day.
“Facebook for me is like reading the morning papers. The news feed keeps you up-to-date with your friends,” said Ashley Robertson, a broadcast journalism junior. “It lets you know who is in or out of a relationship, shows you pictures from events you could not attend and gives you the scoop on upcoming events as well as birthdays.”
The buzz around campus is that Facebook is the next best thing to reality television. Students are so hooked on the site that a poll of 64 women and 58 men on campus ranked Facebook their top Web site to visit daily.
Students are in line with the national trend for college students’ Web activity. According to Youth Trends’ February “Top Ten List Report,” Facebook was students’ favorite Web site for the seventh straight quarter. Youth Trends is a youth research and marketing firm.
“It’s a lot more fascinating because the news updates are about people you know compared to celebrity sites and blogs,” Robertson said.
Public relations senior Helen Haliemariam said there are many Web sites that try to attract college students.
“In my four years of college, there has never been one as addictive as Facebook. It’s a site that lets us be us,” she said.
Another favorite among students is the university’s Web site, www.utexas.edu. The site gives students access to campus news, grades, software, e-mail and the widely used directory.
“I spend about an hour a day navigating through the UT Web site,” said Rogelio Zavala, a mechanical engineering senior. “When I’m not checking my UT mail, I spend my time keeping up with the UT basketball and football teams.”
The university’s Web site provides students with all they need to start their day or perhaps their journey through life at the university, in the case of first-year students.
Students also find Google.com and its many tools very useful. Whether its e-mail, creating documents or finding directions, students love the versatility Google provides. The Google search engine is widely used by students at the university when it comes to writing papers or conducting research.
“I am absolutely in love with Google! My Gmail account helps me organize my emails into folders,” said John Kidenda, a business senior. “I rely heavily on Google maps when it comes to finding directions around Austin.”
More than a quarter of respondents said they also visit Yahoo, The New York Times, Wikipedia, CNN, YouTube and ESPN.
The top five Web sites visited by the female students on campus who were surveyed are Facebook, utexas.edu, Gmail/Yahoo, Wikipedia, The New York Times. The top five sites on Youth Trends’ report, which surveyed more than 1,000 college students, were Facebook, YouTube, Google, Perez Hilton and CNN.
The top five Web sites visited by the male students on campus who were surveyed are Facebook, CNN, ESPN, Gmail and the Wall Street Journal. The top five sites on Youth Trends’ report were Facebook, ESPN, YouTube, Google and CollegeHumor.