1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social media is currently utilized by public health organizations both as a broadcasting platform to amplify messages from traditional media sources (e.g., radio, television, print media) and as an entirely new way of collaborating and co-creating content with target audiences. In the latter approach, organizations have had to adapt their communications strategies to incorporate user generated content and feedback.
Newer communication technologies have increased the possibilities for how people can send and receive information. Social media are one such technology that has seen increased usage as an information source (Pepitone, 2010). For example, social media are being used to seek information about serious topics, such as circulating up-to-the minute information about cholera outbreaks in Haiti and identifying clean water sources during this outbreak (Sutter, 2010). Social media has also seen a great deal of usage by those seeking health information, with 59% of adult Americans (80% of internet users) reporting that they have accessed this type of information online (Fox, 2011). As this Pew Report suggests ‘‘people use online social tools to gather information, share stories, and discuss concerns’’ (Fox, 2011, p. 5). Similarly health professions and organizations are seeing the advantages of adopting social media because it is seen as an information equalizer allowing access to health care information to populations who, in the past, would not have this access (McNab, 2009). It provides a sense of privacy for the information seeker in that he/she does not have to disclose personal information in order to obtain health related information.
With the invention of Web based classroom tools, a throng of new possibilities on how to use online technologies such as social networking sites for blended learning has gotten researchers finding the best possible way to capitalize on these tools. Many studies are conducted in the areas of using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as teaching and learning tools. Another up and coming social networking site catered especially for teaching and learning is Edmodo. Here we will take a look at the benefits of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and the advantages of Edmodo compared to other SNSs. Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as MySpace and especially Facebook have rapidly earned fame among the current generation. Being aware of the popularity of SNSs among students, instructors started to apply their instruction with SNSs to primarily enhance student’s learning motivation and autonomy. Some studies concerning the application of SNSs with instruction showed that SNSs can better students’ general learning performance, and strengthen their learning motivation and autonomy.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, the social media has been a source of information among youth across the country. The credibility of news on the social media is very low because the social media is a pubic platform where different people have the opportunity to post all sort of information which could either be beneficiary or misleading to the audience. The validity of news on the social media is questionable.
Some of the news on the social media are usually not real and trusting such social platforms such as twitter and Facebook could be very harmful. The prevalence of social media among youths in Nigeria has made social media platforms as the easiest and fastest channel for them to have access to information. So many students do not have chance of procuring mass media where news can be directly accessed, this make the social media the best way for them to have access to news. These problems make it glaring to carry out a study on students’ preference for social media for assessing news, a case study of youths in Babcock students.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to investigate students’ preference for social media for assessing news, a case study of youths in Babcock students. The specific objectives are:
1. To ascertain the population of youths in Babcock University who have access to the social media.
2. To find out how often youths in Babcock University access the social media.
3. To determine if youths in Babcock University are ardent and passionate audience of news.
4. To investigate the preference of youths in Babcock University for social media in assessing news.
5. To know if youths in Babcock University trust the validity of the news on the social media.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study are:
1. What is the population of youths in Babcock University who have access to the social media?
2. How often do youths in Babcock University access the social media?
3. Are youths in Babcock University ardent and passionate audience of news?
4. What is the preference of youths in Babcock University for social media in assessing news?
5. Do youths in Babcock University trust the validity of the news on the social media?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H1 – youths in Babcock University are ardent and passionate audience of news.
H0 – youths in Babcock University are not ardent and passionate audience of news.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is relevant to students, media organizations, journalists and researchers. The study will help students and journalists to source useful information on the social media, this will also enlighten media organization on how to utilize the social media as a platform to get connected to their audience since most youths are usually on the social media.
This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.
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