Social networking is not a waste of time. According to a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Kelly Truong:

Researchers at Northwestern University found no connection between time spent on social-networking sites and academic performance. Sites such as Facebook and MySpace had no effect on grades, despite how often students used them or how many they used.

While one of the researchers suggests that this may be because students can use social networking to do school work, it’s worth pointing out that the study didn’t really demonstrate that Facebook is actually productive or good for student grades.

Spending any time on a social networking site is time not spent doing actual schoolwork. But a little distraction is fine. It always has been. Despite all of the worry about social networking ruining the brains and productivity of college students, it just doesn’t seem to matter that much.

View the abstract of the article, “Predictors and Consequence of Differentiated Practices on Social Network Sites” by Eszter Hargittaia and Yu-li Patrick Hsieh in Information, Communication & Society, here.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer