This research exercise is on the influence of new media in social life of Nigeria youth; in Godfrey Okoye University students. The research study adopted the media systems dependency theory as the theoretical framework for this study. The method used for this study was survey research method, with the population of 1640 students and a sample size of 311 students. The study revealed that over 68% of Nigerian youth log in on social media at least four to six times in a week and that over 80% of the youth believed that there is influence of social media on youths’ use of traditional mass media in Nigeria and that over 48% of the respondents agreed that to some extent social media has enhanced youths* interaction on social media. The study conclude that social media have provided an open arena where the.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The history of human communication began with the oral or spoken tradition. Through the course of history, the dissemination of messages progressed from simply the oral tradition, to script, print, wired electronics, wireless electronics and finally digital communication. The greatest change in message dissemination in recent history occurred with the introduction of computers and the Internet in the early 1990s. Since then, this drastic change of communication medium has significantly affected humans’ perception of the media, the usage of time and space, and the reachability and control of the media (Guo-Ming, 2012).
In the present age of digital communication, time has been compressed by reducing the distance between different points in space, and the sense of space has led people to feel that local, ^national, and global space becomes obsolete (Harvey, 2010). In addition, the reachability of digital media can now extend to all people, instead of a limited audience. This is significant because without the confinement of time and space, the control of message production and dissemination is no longer a privilege possessed only by church, state, and government, but instead, equally shared by all individuals (Guo-Ming, 2012).
The new media, that resulted from the invention, encapsulated the characteristics of the old or traditional media, and extended the potentials arid possibilities into which both the “old” and “new” media could be put into use. Tokunbo and Felix (2013) noted that the new media, promoted by Internet technology, exhibit an integration and convergence of the existing media to extend the frontiers of the possibilities of the media of communication, The new media, which hallmarked the integration and convergence of computer and telecommunication technologies, revolutionized the face of human communication especially in the 21st century7. The new information Technology “provides near limitless possibilities of increasing the quantity and enhancing the quality, speed, and availability of information in a complex but increasingly interdependent world (Soola, 2010).
According to Tokunbo and Felix (2013), the new media, propelled and driven by the internet, provide platforms for social interactions between and among users in such a manner that no older platforms/media can boast of. Ignatius, Alice and Lucky (2014) opined that by their nature the social media have peculiar characteristics that make them probably more appealing to the audience than the conventional media. The veracity of this assertion could be perceived in the pace of the growth of the social media sites over the few years of their emergence. He gave the example of Facebook, which is the acclaimed most popular channel among the social media reached over one billion users within ten years of its existence as a medium of communication in the world. The medium attained a “total of 1.23 billion users” in just a decade of its birth (Ignatius, Alice and Lucky, 2014). Other social media sites have similar significant number of users within their short span. This level of wider spread of the media among the people has never been seen in any other earlier means of communication.
The invention of the new media in modern communication is rapidly changing the whole mass media landscape and communication enterprise in the universe presently. This very development brought by technologies is affecting the means of assembling, delivery or dissemination and reception of mediated messages today (Ignatius, Alice and Lucky, 2014). These new means of interactions have greatly changed the media uses by the audience, the journalists and the mainstream media’s relation with the audience. The social media have altered the basic processes involved in news gathering and dissemination in the world. With that, the audience pattern of news consumption especiallywith regard to the contents of the traditional mass media is envisaged to be affected.
However, the positive impact of the new media is greatly among youth as its allowed youth to make friends beyond the borders of their country. According to Chimela, Ovute and Obochi (2015), social media have provided an open arena where the youths are free to exchange ideas on various trending issues. In support of this fact, Chinwe and Uche (2014) noted that as social media is quickly becoming prime political battlegrounds for several political contenders, it has changed young people’s political outlooks and participatory behavior in Nigeria, This is because it has a democratic potential that opens for new forms of political participation and conversations. Socially, the new media have contributed in making an average Nigerian youth to know more about the different tribes in Nigeria (Ignatius, Alice, and Lucky, 2014). Therefore, the focus of this study is on the impact of new media in social life of Nigeria youth; looking into the credibility of News on social media amongst Godfrey Okoye University students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
With the prevalence of the new media technologies, there is a change in the media choice of the youths globally, Nigeria inclusive. A researcher like Broddason (2016) gives credence to the above view by noting that, “there is general agreement among media and communication scholars that a monumental shift is occurring in the media and communication habits of young people.” The rate at which they cling to the use of social media is quite alarming, this leaves people in doubt whether the new channels of communication would utterly displace or at least reduce the youths’ patronage of the mainstream media.
Presently, the youths’ much reliance and choice of the social media is not hidden at all. Invariably, these new media’s ability to exert influence on the use of the conventional media is an unarguable reality. According to Aja (2011) “traditional media organizations such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines seem to have lost prominence and their audience…” Their news and information, as the European Society of Professional Journalists (2014) observes, are being increasingly circumvented by users who use alternative media sources.
From the foregoing, the mainstream media’s losing of grip on the youths’ and the general usage of the prior existing channels of communication is an envisaged phenomenon. This kind of expectation is usually nursed by the people with the introduction of a new means of public interaction. That perhaps informed why Broddason (2016) argues for instance that “there is some suggestion of television being replaced by the “new media.”
However, amidst all sociological benefits, social media have regrettably contributed to moral degeneration and decadence among youths in several countries, including Nigeria. This, no doubt, stems from the gross obsession with and abuse of these social networking sites. Due to the increase in social media web-sites, there seems to be a positive correlation between the usages of such media with cyber bullying, online sexual predators and the decrease in-face-to-face interaction. Likewise, social media seem to be influencing youths’ lives in terms of exposing them to images or alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviors (Kaplan, 2010).
Therefore, the challenge now is that the influence of social media on youths’ uses of conventional mass media in Nigeria is hitherto buried in obscurity. Another problem is finding out whether the social media usage enhances the youths’ interaction with the country’s leaders. Also, it is important to systematically ascertain other purposes which the social media accomplish for the youths. These outlined points are the problems which this study has empirically investigated and provided answers to them.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The mam objective of this study remains on impact of new media in social life of Nigeria youth, while other specific objectives include:
- To ascertain the influence of social media on youths’ use of traditional mass media in Nigeria.
- To determine whether social media usage enhance the youths’ interaction with Nigerian leaders.
- To examine the influence of new media to the social behaviour of Nigerian youth.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- To what extent is the influence of social media on youths’ use of traditional mass media in Nigeria?
- To what extent does social media usage enhance the youths’ interaction with Nigerian leaders?
- To what extent is the influence of new media to the social behaviour of Nigerian youth?
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This work will concentrate on the credibility of News on social media amongst Godfrey Okoye University students, in Enugu state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is expected that the output of this research will benefit students and the administration of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu as will show the level of the students’ use of social media. This shall help them to understand how best to sustain the students attention on using social networking 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 new 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 network usage among undergraduate students.
Again, 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. This will help the ministry, to it know how to control social network usage.
Finally, this work would be beneficial to future researchers who can now readily lay their hands on the result of this work by making use of The research report.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Youth: Youth is the time of life when one is young, but often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). Youth could be described operationally as students in various Universities in Nigeria and who fall between the ages of 15 -30.
- Influence: The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviour, opinions of others.
- Social networks: Social networks are online services, platforms or sites that focus building and reflecting social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and or activities. Social networking sites are websites that allow those who have account with them to communicate with a selected group of friends (Awake, 2011).
- New media: According to Wikipedia (2014), “New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, -and creative participation.
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