During First Week this year, we again surveyed one-Ls regarding their use of online communication tools, asking ten questions of the more than 550 students attending Library tours. Although it’s still too early to draw any firm conclusions, some trends may be emerging.
The members of the class of 2011/12 still prefer email to either IM or text messaging. Email is the primary communication tool for 62% of these students, as opposed to 31% for text messaging and only 4.7% for IM. However, the percentage of those preferring email fell from last year’s 67%, with a greater than corresponding increase in the preference for text messaging, which rose from 24% to 31%. And, the popularity of IM fell by almost one-half from last year’s figure of 8.3%.
Facebook again beat MySpace handily as the social networking site of choice. This year, however, the margin was by more than twelve to one, exceeding last year’s margin six-fold.
One-Ls seem to be connecting more to the blogosphere and taking greater advantage of RSS feeds. Among this year’s class, 32% subscribe to or read blogs, while 14% subscribe to or read RSS feeds. Last year’s class, in response to a question conjoining blogs and RSS, revealed that only 14% subscribed to blogs or used RSS readers.
Two new questions this year focused on the type of computer students used most often (Mac or PC) and how often students downloaded or listened to podcasts. Mac use is clearly on the rise, with almost 31% of the One-Ls indicating that as their preference. As for podcasts, 32% of the incoming class have downloaded or listened to between one and five podcasts in the past year and 16% have downloaded or listened to more than five podcasts. Still, almost one-half the class (46%), have not downloaded or listened to any podcasts, and an additional 8% didn’t know what a podcast was.
Finally, we continue to see a resounding – though diminishing – preference for pepperoni as the pizza topping of choice (26%)! Mushroom was pepperoni’s next closest competitor, coming in at 15%.
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