One of the most crucial benefits Facebook brings to HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ life is the improvement in academic performance. The reason as to how Facebook can help with HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ academic performance is because the said social media platform has opened various ways to acquire knowledge for university students, as claimed by many researchers in their studies such as Wodzicki, Schwämmlein and Moskaliuk, 2012; Cooke, 2015; Manasijevic, Zivkovic, Arsic and Milosevic, 2016. University students in general and fourth year students of HUFLIT in specific, utilize Facebook and other social media spaces to serve their academic purpose by using them to exchange ideas related to schoolwork and create an educational community. This was proved in Hussain’s (2012) study which included more than 600 university students, nearly 90% of the participants confirmed that they indeed use Facebook for their academic activities. Furthermore, a study of Madhusudhan (2012) that included 160 researchers in philosophy and social studies at the University of Delhi, 71.25% of the participants said that they were using Facebook throughout their processes of learning and researching. Many people thought Facebook is mostly used for entertainment by university students, but Joshi, Sharma and Sharma (2016) claimed in their studies that the most important factor of Facebook usage by university students was academic resource, followed by useful information, perceived enjoyment, association and social influence.
Facebook does not improve HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ academic performance only by opens the door to more resources of knowledge, it also creates a useful educational environment for students. Social media platform such as Facebook has been equated to an educational community which gives peer feedback, provides identical learning and social backgrounds, and facilitates online academic communities (Selwyn, 2007). McGowan and Partridge (2014) suggested that students can make their educational environment better by forming more connections with members of the university community through peer groups.
Reportedly, university students frequently use social media like Facebook in an attempt to empower their educational activities and improve their academic performance (Zachos, Paraskevopoulou-Kollia and Anagnostopoulos, 2018). Finally, Mohamad’s research in 2011 stated that every time Facebook was included in the process of learning, students’ motivation and understanding was enhanced.
Another benefits that Facebook contributes to HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ life is the improvement in social interaction. Dahlstrom, Grunwald, de Boor, and Vockley (2011) found out that in 3000 university students, there are 90% of them who use Facebook. Social media, specifically Facebook, is now considered an essential part of building university communities, extending students’ social capital and creating opportunities for student-to-student communication as proved by many studies, (Davis, Deil-Amen, Rios-Aguilar &
Canche, 2012; Selwyn, 2007; Goode and Woodward, 2016) and fourth year students of HUFLIT are no exception. The results from a research of Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007) showed that Facebook is indeed related to students’ attempt at establishing and maintaining their social capital at university and Goode and Woodward (2016) also stated that a social media space like Facebook can grant students with chances for casual engagement and community building. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that Facebook has become an essential part of communication for HUFLIT’s fourth year students nowadays.
Related to this topic, Haythornthwaite (2005) classified relationships of university students with their classmates and teachers, or academic networks in general, as weak ties. This also applies to the fourth year students of HUFLIT. Aside from weak ties which are used to exchange knowledge and materials by students, Haythornthwaite (2005) also mentioned another possible form of relationship called latent ties. Latent ties were described as “a tie for which a connection is available technically but that has not yet been activated by social interaction” by Haythornthwaite (2002). In Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe’s (2007) research, Facebook was said to help students to turn latent ties into weak ties easier due to the way it provides a person’s information to the others, makes one’s connections to a vast range of people visible, and gives students the ability to identify those who might be useful for their academic purpose, thus creating the motivation to activate a latent tie and form a weak tie. To sum up, Facebook has turned those inactive connections called latent ties of HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ into more practical, useful connections called weak ties for their academic purpose.
Besides broadening HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ social capital within university communities, Facebook also improves their life satisfaction and mental health. Mattanah, Ayers, Brand, Brooks, Quimby and McNary’s study in 2010 reveals that using Facebook reduces the feelings of loneliness for students, while Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007)’s study discovered the relation between students’ bridging social capital and their subjective evaluation of well-being. Students with a lower frequency of Facebook usage were reported to have both smaller bridging social capital and lower satisfaction with university life than those who have higher frequency of Facebook usage and the same was true for self-esteem, Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007). These findings can also be true to the fourth year students of HUFLIT.
Furthermore, Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007) explained these effects as Facebook usage might help students with low satisfaction and low self-esteem to conquer their insecurities, because bridging social capital provides students with more information and more opportunities. Hence, HUFLIT’s fourth year students’ experience of university life will be improved along with their mental well-being.