Roommates through Social Media

Vishakha Negi ‘13
EE Co-Editor-in-Chief

There was a time when incoming freshmen met their roommates on the first day of college. There would have been no previous communication about room décor, so they would already have bought what they needed (a few sheets, a pillow cover, and a towel). Or, in many cases, the room would remain the way it was.

Now that matters are different and roommates know each other months ahead of time. They even have the luxury of shopping together. And what catalyzes their decision-making on furniture and bedding is social media.

“I friended my roommates on Facebook before high school even ended,” says Dominique Martin, who graduated last year from Trumbull High. “We made a group where we posted pictures of things we liked and coordinated until we had everything we needed. So we were ready before the college year started.”

Facebook, sometimes paired with Pinterest, catalyzes visual interaction between prospective roommates – who can create groups and utilize different tools on the medium to share their ideas.

“I posted on my college Facebook group about rooming, and my current roommate like the post. We started messaging and we haven’t stopped since,” says current senior Nikki Wittstein. Excited about the coming year, she has already visited her college, University of South Carolina, and met up with her roommate to get some dorm shopping done.

Early preparations like this are a growing trend. The change may be attributed to the increasing rate of college matriculation – whereas only 40% of high school senors attended college in the graduating class of 1970, about 70% of today’s graduating seniors will pursue higher education. College is transforming itself and permeating more and more into the mainstream culture of America. It is college students that created various forms of social media, and media, in turn, supports this change.

Seeing this, retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond have created college gift registries and online programs that could help college students design their rooms. According to the National Retail Federation, college students spend 11% more on dorm décor now than they did merely five years ago. It comes as no surprise that perhaps the second largest sale season, after Christmas, is March – “college essentials” shopping.

The excitement is real as the senior class draws closer to college.

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