Filed Under (e-learning, New Media, pachyderm, Video) by Chris LaBelle on 22-04-2009

Oh no!  Someone let the cat out of the bag – using Facebook too frequently saps your intelligence and degrades your academic performance.  OK, maybe not an exact translation of Dr. Karpinski’s recent study out of Ohio State University, but it’s not as far off as you might think.

According to this recent study,

“Facebook is frequently used by 85 percent of undergraduate students; and 52 percent of graduates. Furthermore, Facebook users, who usually studied between 1-5 hours a week, had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5; as against GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0 of the non-users, who generally devote 11-15 hours a week to their studies.”

While Dr. Karpinski avoids drawing a direct correlation between Facebook usage and academic performance, her data suggest that the amount of time students spend on Facebook versus homework impacts GPA.  Go figure.  Which begs the question:  Is Facebook anything more than an online watered-down version of the public square?  And more specifically, would the closest real-world metaphor for Facebook be the library or the mall?


The real-world mall experience is primarily about community– a place where stores instantiate the public square to move product.   In the case of Facebook and many other web 2.0 sites, it’s hard to not see the parallel. When was the last time you found a better deal on something in a mall compared to Amazon.com (holiday deals aside) or some other online retailer?

I know, I know, everyone is doing itFacebook is one of the most visited websites on the planet, but, pushing a product?

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