Russian Language Journal


Thomas Garza


global, social networks, Internet, foreign language


The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed an unprecedented global explosion in the number of online social networking sites (SNSs) available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. SNSs, such as Facebook, LiveJournal, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Bebo, and SixDegrees, among scores of others1, have transformed the mode and medium of person-­‐‑to-­‐‑ person communication, by making instant, direct – and free – contact with tens of thousands of interlocutors at one time a reality. A 2007 study of the National School Boards Association showed that American school-­‐‑age children were spending nine to twelve hours per week not simply on the computer, but specifically on social networking sites – about the same amount of time as they spent watching television (Karlin, 1). Significantly, according to more recent research, that number increases to fifteen to twenty hours per week for university students, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, nearly twice the average time per week that a college student spends studying and preparing for classes (Deresiewicz, 2).