THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
1.1 Background to the Study
Most learning is a social activity which occurs in interaction with others, so it is quite a logical step to integrate social media into learning experiences (Sie et al., 2012). The more social the medium is, the greater the impact communication partners have on each other’s behavior (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010).
Social media is a means of interactions among people of different ages in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in a virtual communities and network. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) defined social media as “a group of internet – based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and it allows the creation and exchange of user- generated content and depend on mobile and Web based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, create, discuss and modify user- generated content. Social media is playing an important role in today’s online world. The traditional way of meeting each other is long gone and now the world meets at social media websites. It is an instrument on communication that gives information and interacts with its users while giving the information. Social media is a powerful new form of communication and its use cut across rank, profession, age etc. The modern social media surfaced in the earlier 1990s and one of such sites was created in 1994 and was called the “Geocities” which was known for certain characteristics. Facebook is another key example of the social media with over one billion active users as at January 2013.
There are different types that have support for educators (blogging, Edublogawards, Teacher Tube, Twitter); delivery of content (MIT’s OpenCourseWare, iTunesU) and social learning (Facebook, Google+, blogs, LinkedIn and You Tube). Collaborated projects eg Wikipedia, blogs. Micro blog Twitters, Content communities such as YouTube, Flickr, Myspace.com, meet Up, del.icio.us stumble Upon, Digg, Daily motion and technologies.
Social media has influenced the educational nationwide in Nigeria and beyond, it introduction has played a significant role in the administration and teaching and learning in both college and university. Social medial has change the traditional way of sharing knowledge and information among students in the higher institutions in Nigeria. The use of social media in knowledge sharing cannot be overestimated it has helped to enhance access to information and learning with the use of networking in fostering transformation and easing accessibility to information for undergraduate.
A wide variety of characteristics and capabilities have been defined for social media in the literature. However, for the purpose of this study, those features of social media have been considered relevant to knowledge sharing purposes. They have the capabilities of social media that encourage, support, and enable undergraduate students to share their knowledge easily and effectively through different mechanisms. These characteristics of social media can be categorized into four features: Social connections have become very important and have improved and enhance accessibility of information and sharing of knowledge tremendously among Nigerian Universities.
Social networking: these sites are fast becoming very popular means of both interpersonal and public communication in Nigeria. Social networking sites are modern interactive communication channels through which people connect to one another, share ideas, experiences, pictures, messages and information of interest. Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites as:
‘‘Web based services that allow individuals to construct a Public or semipublic profile within a bounded system (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and (3)view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
They are interactive networks which information and communication technology (ICTs) bequeath to the modern society through the instrumentality of the Internet and the telecommunication gadgets. The social media makes it possible to expand the networks and to increase the possibilities for communicating with wider audiences on the globe in knowledge sharing. Over the year, it has becomes a very useful tools for Nigeria Undergraduates share knowledge through social media sites with various available gadget which has enhance their carrier achievement in the various higher institution.
The interactive aura of the new media confers an unprecedented popularity on them. Also the ubiquity of the social networking sites within their short period of arrival is unparalleled in the annals of media industry. Awake (2011) buttresses this point by noting that ‘‘social networking has become hugely popular. Similarly, it took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users, 13 years for television to attract the same number and 4 years for the Internet to do so, but it took Facebook 12-month only to gain 200 million users in sharing of knowledge which has become easy and flexible. Social networking sites provide various interactive platforms based on the intentions of their founders. There are for instance, social, political, academic, businesses, sports and religious platform. In other words, the social media site by their nature has the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and inflaming the audience. Onomo (2012) acknowledged this ability of the media by remarking that social media sites has become ‘‘a widespread tool for communication and exchange of ideas, sharing of knowledge in helping individuals and organizations with just causes to reach a phenomenally vast audience that could hitherto not be reached by traditional media.’‘
Social connections have become very important and have improved the library profession tremendously in Nigeria. According to Suraweera et al (2011) social networking refers to a process of relationship building among a group with a common interest. Social media emerged in Nigeria principally for the purpose of socializing. The Facebook initially was used only for social discussions, however over time, particularly by the turn of the 21st century the grouping of individuals into specific groups emerged.
The World Wide Web enables people to gain access to information, create content and disseminate ideas more efficiently. It optimizes the social networks in which individuals are connected through widening communication channels and lowering costs (Barsky and Purdon 2006). Social networking sites first emerged for Internet users to find long-lost friends and classmates, link with each other and share profiles. An increasing number of individuals have become members of one or more social networking sites leading to soaring membership numbers, largely because these sites are free and easy to use. Lately, these social networking sites have gained a foothold among companies, organizations, and even politicians who want to reach out to their target populations (Read 2006). The wide application of social networking in different contexts appears to have included universities and libraries as well (Boyd and Ellison 2007).
Thus, since inception, social networking sites like Facebook, twittser,2go, My Space, Skype etc. have mesmerized millions of users, many of whom have been made to use these sites as parts of their daily activities. Currently, there is a plethora of social networks with various features meant to suit the different interests of their followers. Some are accessed via computer alone while others can be used with mobile phones. The first identifiable social networking sites was launched in 1997, six degree. It allowed its users to create profiles, list their friends and in 1998, introduced the friends list where users had the freedom to search for old and new friends. (Zeller 2008).
This however was devoid of the provision for users to upload their profile pictures. Other social networking sites like classmates were founded to aid social interaction among their users but did not have many features like six degrees. Other social networking sites like Friendster and myspace created virtual community, which would help its members locate old and new ones, shape their personal profile via the Internet and socially idea or opinion under the sun. Two years later, Jack Dorsey Launched Twitter as an online blogging site, while the most recent 2go was founded in 2008 by Michael S. Egan. Therefore, just like radio and television, social networking has spread everywhere in Nigeria and are bound to be sprouting as the new media for are still obscure. In other words, from the analysis carried out by the researcher from the world Internet statistics (2012) it was found that out of the total population of 170,123,740 Nigeria, 5,860,240 numbers of people used Facebook as of 2012. Comparing Burundi and Chad with a similar population of 10,557259k and 199 75,648 respectively, the data shows that 37,040 and 36, 940 number of people respectively used Facebook as of 2012. Similarly, Florunso, et al (2010) reviewed that: In Africa, social media networking sites are becoming widely Spread than it has ever been before and it appears that people’s Perception of this technology is diverse. pp.326).
Furthermore, as a novel phenomenon, it is necessary to examine how UNN students use the new means of communication. This is because student’s contribution as youths can make or transform any nation. Essoungou (2010), explain that the new communication technology is one of few ways that young Africans can bypass the inefficiencies in the system that allow the status quo to hold on. It lowers the barriers to entry for everyone to get involved and be heard. A study like this shall help to ascertain whether Students use of the media could be regulated or not. This is obviously because the disposition of people of a given community could shape the media in existence there, just like a cerebral media scholar, Anim (2007)aptly notes that societies greatly influence the operations and functions of the media that operate within those societies.’‘ The manner in which the social media were used and the role they play in the recent uprising which rocked the middle- East popularly referred to as ‘‘Arab Spring’’ could be deciphered as credence to the above academic observations.
Knowledge has always seen as one of the key strategic resources that can produce sustained long-term competitive advantage. Knowledge is the ability of people and organizations to understand and act effectively. Having knowledge supports to cope with daily routine works and it can also set up everyone to deal with new situations and utilize when needed.
Organizations that need to thrive, compete, and operate in an ever evolving environment, cannot leave the development of knowledge within the organization to chance. The exchange of information and knowledge among employees is a vital part of knowledge management. Actually, the organizations are faced with the challenge how to get people to share their knowledge.
For several decades, the world’s best-known forecasters of social change have predicted the emergence of a new economy where brainpower and knowledge, not traditional sources of energy and machine power is the critical resource. However, this future is already here and the knowledge economy has arrived. This evolving era is characterized by rapid change and uncertainty, the increasing importance of knowledge and knowledge management and the popularity of new information technologies that have the potential to radically change the way organization do business.
The single most significant technological development in the last 20 years has been the Internet. The Internet makes it possible for individuals to connect, collaborate and share knowledge, information, document, photo, video, etc. continuously with anyone in the world. Furthermore, people are able to make use of social media tools in order to increase range and richness of their networks, gather information and nowadays, increasingly organizations are finding ways of integrating social media into their business processes (Gaál et al, 2014).
The learning organization. a concept that has been around for some time, and rose to popularity in the 1990s when Senge (1990) introduced his book The fifth discipline. the art and practice of the learning organization. To this day it is seen as an important concept for organizations. Organizations must learn because the environment around them changes so quickly. Therefore, employees (and thus the whole organization) have to learn to handle these changes.
It is the light of the above that this research work will seek to examine the use of social media by undergraduate students in Ambrose Alli Univeristy Ekpoma.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, social networking sites have metamorphosed from few-user-based sites into phenomena that have become niche for billions of users. The growth and popularity of social networking sites have generated concerns among school authorities, communication experts and socio-psychological researchers about the benefit and potential risks facing undergraduates, as they engage in online social networking to cater for their social and information needs rather than oral or face-to-face communication.
Social media has influenced the educational nationwide in Nigeria and beyond, it introduction has played a significant role in the administration and teaching and learning in both college and university. From researches and past literatures, many authors have tried to write about one aspect on the subject of the role of social media by academic library in Edo State.
The literature was extensively review. No work was found in literature that covered the use of social media by undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University. Hence this study was carried out to cover this gap.
But not much was has been carried out in the area of social media as its been used by undergraduate in Edo State. Although, several studies has dealt on the benefits of social media on library services. Almost nothing is done on the aspect of social media use by undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University based on this, this study aims to survey the use of social media by undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the use of social media by undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University.
The specific objectives of this study were to:
- Determine the extent to which the undergraduate students use social
- Determine where students get access to social media.
- Identify the types of social media used by students.
- Identify factors encouraging the use of social media by undergraduate students.
- Determine the purpose for which the students use the social media
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions will are raised to guide this study:
- To what extent do undergraduate students use social media?
- Where do students have access to social media?
- What are the types of social media used by students?
- What are the factors encouraging the use of social media by undergraduate students?
- What are the purposes for which the students use the social media?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are formulated for this study:
H01: Undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University does not make use of social media.
H02: There are no factors encouraging the use of social media by Undergraduate students.
H03: Social media does not significantly influence the performance of undergraduate students.
1.6 Significant of the Study
It is expected that the output of this research will benefit students and the administration of undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma as well as show the level of the students’ use of social media sites. This shall help them to understand how best to sustain the students attention on using social media sites. Also this work will be of immense benefit to the field of Library and information sciences as it will be on addition to existing literature. And shall also add to the available academic literatures on social media.
Also the findings could be used by academic advisers and counselors proffer professional advice to the university authorities on how to regulate the social media usage among undergraduate students of undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma.
Also, the findings of this study would provide facts that will enable the ministry of communication technology to know what arises from students’ use of the social media sites. This will help the ministry, to know how to control social media usage. Upon successful completion of this research, it shall be very relevant to various people, across Nigeria.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This research work is undertaken to examine the use of social media by undergraduate students. But due to time, finance and other factors, the study will be limited to Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo Statea as a case study.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following operational definition of terms will be used in this study:
Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
Social Networking: Boyd and Ellison (2007) described social networking websites as systems that allow individuals to: (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
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