The study was aimed at investigating the effectiveness of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among students of Abia state university. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised students of selected departments in Abia state university. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a significant effect of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown and that there is a significant relationship between social media platforms usage and interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown. It was therefore concluded from the findings that social media platforms have a high potential to help inform and increase awareness, education, and healthcare during the coronavirus crisis period. It was recommended that Governments and experts can also use these experiences from social media to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 disease and other similar future crises.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social media is a bilateral computer intervention which helps in interpersonal communication. Lockdown is the period where people are not permitted to go out of their house unless any emergencies arise. Hence, the children and adults are 24/7 focused on social networks which could have a disastrous effect on their psychology.The COVID-19 pandemic has forced leaders in politics and at universities to take drastic measures that affect how citizens and students interact and socialize with each other. . In many countries around the world, individuals are required to reduce physical contact to others outside one’s household (social distancing) [Anderson, Heesterbeek, Klinkenberg & Hollingsworth, 2020]. Additional measures include curfews, quarantines, and closing of non-essential stores, schools, and universities. As many universities suspended classroom teaching and switched to online teaching, the lives of students have changed drastically.The social networks of students have been argued to be an important factor in buffering stress and helping them to be more effective [Stadtfeld, Voros, Elmer, Boda & Raabe, 2019].
Individual activities have increased on social media with the outbreak of the coronavirus 2019 crisis (COVID-19). Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are among the most important networks throughout this period (Abd-Alrazaq , Alhuwail, Househ, Hamdi & Shah, 2020;Ahmad & Murad, 2020). In these networks, different people publish their thoughts, viewpoints, attitudes, and feelings about the crisis and share with others. Twitter is one of the most important social media in which people share their opinions and viewpoints. In this social network, the global trend related to the disease is followed, and important news and information about the disease such as quarantine and other related issues are shared (Leelawat, Tang, Saengtabtim & Laosunthara, 2020). By investigating the tweets of the Twitter users, AbdAlrazaq et al. (2020) concluded that the topics shared by the users are categorized in four main topics, including the origin of COVID-19, source of a novel coronavirus, impact of COVID-19 on people and countries, and methods for decreasing COVID-19 spread. Another study found that most comments of users on social networks were on “events notification”, “popularization of prevention and treatment”, and “government response” (Han, Wang, Zhang & Wang, 2020). There have also been tweets about COVID-19 and older people on Twitter, most of which were personal comments, jokes and insults, and no informative content, and only a third of the information has been intended to provide information to old patients and recommendations for the general population. In contrast, older people are known to be vulnerable to this disease (Jimenez-Sotomayor, Gomez-Moreno & Soto-Perez-de-Celis, 2020). These people also use social media to learn about the disease and share their viewpoints.
Social media, the online network that connects people from the nooks and corners of the world, is a boon for the contemporary world. And now it has turned as an inevitable part of the society. Social media plays a pivotal role in flourishing business; engaging in public affairs; promote education and many other sectors which have a wide reach around the globe. Unfortunately, as everything in the world is like a two sided coin, social media is turning to be a bane when it is over used especially among the youngsters. Earlier people used to get irritated when others check their personal diary but now they get irritated if others don’t take any notice of their activities published online. Living in the virtual world, today’s generation hardly look at others’ face to interact with. Various studies have been conducted on the topic, where many concluded that social media affects interpersonal communication but few believe that it won’t affect.
However, interpersonal communication skill is still significant to students during discussions with peers and lecturers. By using interpersonal communication, it allows delivery and receiving of message in a clear way compared to virtual communication (Drago, 2015). It is usual for people to read each other’s facial expressions and body language to create a clearer picture of the conversation without it leading to misunderstandings. Despite numerous studies has proven the positive impacts of the use of social networking on interpersonal communication, however, there are also research which showed the negative impacts of social networking on interpersonal communication (Gjybegaj & Jararaa, 2018; Sevük, 2013) by reducing the desire to communicate interpersonally.
The use of social media leads to a more successful implementation of social distancing between individuals. On the other hand, the effects of the lack of communication among people can reduce social isolation. Simple behavioral rules of social distancing between individuals can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 disease and the social, psychological, and economic pressures on individuals. Therefore, governments and organizations, policymakers put the policies based on social networks on the agenda (Block, Hoffman, Raabe , Dowd, Rahal & Kashyap, et al. 2020). Social media can be useful in the interaction of citizens during the COVID-19 crisis and facilitate the interaction between the government and individuals (Chen, Min, Zhang, Wang, Ma & Evans, 2020). The content of social media can support the participation and development of the social distancing culture, and the role and responsibility of individuals as members of society become more prominent through access to information on these networks (Mohamad, 2020). Social media can also be used as a way to improve emotional relationships and increase awareness (Manzo & Minello, 2020).
The motivation behind this research has been personal experience with interaction and communication with friends and family; it had become difficult, sometimes even rare, to have a one-on-one conversation with them, without having them glancing at or interacting with their phone. Has social interaction changed since the introduction of advanced technology and primarily social media? In correlation with the research data collected in this study, it was concluded that many participants’ personal communication has decreased due social media influence encouraging them to have online conversations, as opposed to face-to-face, in-person conversations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The usage of social media has been on the increase especially in developing country, as more and more people has access to technology and internet service so has the use of social media has risen, technological advancement has been continue grown and new innovation is been introduced into our society , also “Recent advancements in communication technology have enabled billions of people to connect more easily with people great distances away, yet little has been known about how the frequent presence of these devices in social settings influences face-to-face interactions” (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2012). Social media is used for information transmission during the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, which can change the behavior of individuals in the community (44). Since most social networks allow all users to share information, and also due to the lack of scientific monitoring of health information published on social networks, the problem of publishing incorrect information among users during the COVID-19 crisis is considered as the primary concern. Incorrect medical information and unconfirmed content, and even false information as the information based on evidence on the global epidemic of COVID-19 are publishing on social media at an alarming rate. In the meantime, wrong home remedies and dedicated consultations shared on social media can increase the outbreak risk of coronavirus. The rapid spread of invalid information on social media and the inability to detect the correct and incorrect information by users has increased fears and concerns about the outbreak of COVID-19 disease among students in Abia state University. However, concerns and impacts of social media on people may vary depending on their gender, age, and education level. The study will focus on the effectiveness of social media on interpersonal communication of university student during the covid-19 lockdown.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among students. Other general objectives of the study are:
- To examine the extent of usage of social media platforms among students of Abia state university during the covid – 19 lockdown.
- To examine the effect of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown.
- To investigate the role of social media platforms during the covid-19 lockdown.
- To examine the relationship between social media platforms usage and interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown.
- What is the extent of usage of social media platforms among students of Abia state university during the covid – 19 lockdown?
- What is the effect of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown?
- What is the role of social media platforms during the covid-19 lockdown?
- What is the relationship between social media platforms usage and interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown.
H1:There is a significant effect of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown.
H0:There is no significant relationship between social media platforms usage and interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown
H1: There is a significant relationship between social media platforms usage and interpersonal communication among Abia state university students during covid-19 lockdown.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results of the findings would be of significant to the children, parents, community, teachers, Ministry of Education, educators and curriculum planners. The purpose of the study is to find out the effectiveness of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among students. More so, the study aim at identifying which form of social media is more prevalent among the students.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on theeffectiveness of social media platforms on interpersonal communication among students of Abia state University.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media: Social Media refers to the means of interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
Social Media Platforms:Social media platforms are a web site that is designed to help people communicate and share information, photographs, etc. with a group.
Interpersonal Communication: Is an exchange of information between two or more people. It is also an area of study and research that seeks to understand how humans use verbal and nonverbal cues to accomplish a number of personal and relational goals.
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