Our student-led digilit project is proceeding quietly in the background at present, partly because the first decision the participating students made following the launch meeting was to conduct initial backchannel discussions on a closed facebook group. Everyone involved is well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using facebook in education, but love it or hate it (love it and hate it), you can't get way from it, so it's a good idea to understand exactly how it works. I'd be very interested to know how Ray Junco's latest data on the impact of race, gender and socioeconomic status translates from the American context onto the UK student experience.
Junco, R. (2013) Inequalities in Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2328-2336.
While research has examined digital inequalities in general Internet use, little research has examined inequalities in social networking website use. This study extends previous research by examining how Facebook use is related to student background characteristics. Analyses were conducted to assess differences in time spent and activities performed on Facebook using a large sample (N = 2359) of college students. Results showed that women were more likely to use Facebook for communication, African Americans were less likely to use Facebook to check up on their friends, and students from lower socioeconomic levels were less likely to use Facebook for communication and sharing. Implications for education, communication, and student outcomes are presented.