Keen to start a new semester back in October of last year, we all joined our departmental Facebook page or group for the year, hoping that we would be able to find out lots of important information about our course and be able to ask fellow students questions. The pages can be a great way to find out about socials or other events related to your course, but not everyone finds them useful; some students said that they felt they could be a bit irritating and busy, whereas some students do not use their groups or pages at all. I feel that my department group is quite well used, but we do share it with all of the year groups, making some of the information irrelevant to what we’re looking for.
But what do we really want or expect from a Facebook group anyway? We expect to be fed information that is interesting, punchy and doesn’t involve us having to really do anything, apart from ‘like’ the occasional post and find things that are relevant to our interests and studies. If there is too much going on, people cannot be bothered, or simply don’t have the time to wade through what’s there.
I spoke to several friends about the idea, one or two replied that they didn’t even know if they had a page or not, and why would they need it anyway? Other people on courses that involve lots of group work or creative projects, such as engineering or design, made their Facebook groups a great way to interact with one another and see what everyone else was up to and when it is viable to meet up. On some pages people also post links to interesting articles, socials, videos and competitions, giving students the chance to not only use the page to interact with course mates about work, but to also share things that may be of mutual interest as students of a particular discipline. The pages and groups vary in their usefulness, but if you have a question or a favour to ask, someone is bound to notice it and give you a helping hand or even cheer you up with a post about an up- and- coming fancy dress social!