THE PERCEPTION OF STUDENTS TOWARD THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the perception and use of social media among university students in Nigeria. The research was guided by three research questions. The study adopted a survey-based research design. The study population is 1816 individuals. The study’s sample size was determined using Wimmer and Dominic’s calculation of 451. There were 451 copies of the questionnaire distributed, and 317 copies were returned.
The data was obtained from both primary and secondary sources. The primary source was a structured questionnaire, while secondary sources included textbooks, the library, and scholarly journals. The data were analyzed using frequency distribution tables and a simple percentage approach.
The analysis revealed that students spend more time than necessary on social media, they prefer chatting on social media to talking with their friends, and they use social media as a source of information about global events. In addition, the study revealed that social media improves the quality of education because students have access to online educational materials via social media.
It was suggested that students devote more time to their academic studies than they do to social media. The government should be responsible for monitoring the internet and educating the public on the proper use of social media.
1.1 CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
In Nigeria and around the world, the use of social media for both interpersonal and public communication is rapidly gaining popularity. Social media are contemporary interactive communication channels that allow people to connect, share ideas, experiences, images, messages, and information of shared interest. What distinguishes social media from conventional forms of communication is the audience’s ability to participate from anywhere in the world due to the social media’s interactive nature.
McQuail (2010) distinguishes social media from traditional mass media by stating, “Traditional mass communication was primarily unidirectional, whereas new forms of communication are primarily interactive.” This interactive characteristic of the new media gives them unprecedented popularity. Social Media are media that enable users to meet online via the Internet, communicate in social forums such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.,
and other chat sites, where users generally socialize by sharing news, photos, ideas, and thoughts, or responding to issues and other content. Examples of social media include popular social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Flicker, among others. Social Media is an interactive media format that enables users to send and receive content from and to one another over the Internet.
Social media are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make collaboration possible, and allow stakeholders to deliberate across borders, time, and space. These technologies include blogs, wikis, tools for sharing media (audio, video, and text), networking platforms (including Facebook), and virtual worlds (Bryer and Zavatarro, 2011). In the past decade, the rise of social media sites as an additional platform on the internet has gained popularity.
Due to the fact that the sites have attracted millions of users worldwide (Boyd & Ellison, 2007), a growing number of people are shifting their sources of news, information, business, and entertainment. These social media websites enable users to create personal profiles and connect with other site users. Users are able to upload photographs and share their current activities. (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2008).
By their very nature, social media have the capacity to educate, inform, entertain, and inflame the audience. In addition, they have a contagious and far-reaching influence that traditional media lack. This potential is probably what Osahenye (2012) refers to as the “unstoppable power of social media.”
Now, just like radio or television stations, social media sites are ubiquitous in Nigeria and will continue to proliferate as technology advances; the problem, however, is that the purposes for which users employ the new media remain obscure. This is what Folorunso, Vincent, Adekoya, and Adewale (2010: 326) meant when they stated, “In Africa, social media networking sites are becoming more widespread than ever before, and they tend to be widely accepted by the youths.”
However, the widespread adoption of this technology by users of these websites is unclear, as perceptions of this technology appear to be diverse. This study is intended, among other things, to methodically investigate why university students in South-East Nigeria utilize social media. The purpose of such academic research is to decipher some of the fundamental purposes for which students use new media.
Due to the rapid development of both technology and the skills and knowledge of social media users, the definition of “social media” continues to evolve as new websites and online content appear daily. According to Jacka and Scott (2011:5), there is no universally accepted definition of social media. For many, social media are exemplified by well-known social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
There are hundreds of millions of users across demographics of race, age, and gender on these websites, which have gained immense popularity. According to Jacka and Scott (2011:5), social media is the collection of Web-based broadcast technologies that enable the democratization of content, allowing individuals to transition from content consumers to publishers.
The ABC (2011) has created a website titled Technology Explained, which provides definitions and explanations for contemporary technical and online terms. According to the website,’social media encompasses digital tools and activities that enable communication and sharing across the Internet… All sectors of society, including business, politics, the media, advertising, the police, and emergency services, make extensive use of social media.
It has also become a crucial instrument for provoking thought, dialogue, and action regarding specific social issues. According to the website Social Media Guide (2011), it has compiled approximately fifty definitions from various other websites. Social media, according to its definition, is user-generated content shared over the Internet through technologies that encourage engagement, sharing, and collaboration.
According to Kaplan and Haenlein, social media as we know it today likely dates back more than two decades. Even though it was primitive by today’s standards, users could post public messages on sites like Usenet. Not surprisingly, the advent and availability of high-speed Internet access has led to an explosion in the number and popularity of websites (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010:60).
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010:61) developed their own technical definition of social media as follows: “Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and permit the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.”
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The use of social media as communication channels is on the rise in Nigeria and virtually everywhere else in the world. Almost everyone in the country, including university students, uses social media. Social media is a sword with two edges. Its power, for both good and evil, resides in us.” Thus, individuals (users) determine their social media behavior.
The rate of social media usage is extremely high, particularly among university students, which frequently results in a reduction of study time. A major concern is determining whether social media have a positive impact on students’ academic performance. A student’s life is consumed by studying, assignments, and projects.
However, social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook make it difficult for students to concentrate on their studies in this age of advanced technology. Observations indicate that some students use social media to commit cybercrimes that could harm the victims. Some students become so easily addicted to social media that it interferes with their lives (Wilson, 2015).
These constitute the fundamental issues This study aims to determine systematically how university students perceive and utilize social media.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the perception and utilization of social media among university students in Nigeria. Specifically, the purpose of the study is to;
To determine the extent to which social media has influenced students at Go University.
To determine whether frequent use of social media is associated with poor academic performance.
To determine if social media contents are relevant to academic curriculum in Nigeria
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
We propose the following research questions:
How much influence do social media have on Go University students?
How does frequent use of social media contribute to poor academic performance?
How are social media relevant to academic curriculum in Nigeria?
1.5 RADIUS OF STUDY
This research is limited to academic literature on social media use in Nigerian universities. The research was conducted in Enugu due to the high concentration of students who are active social media users.
1.6 Importance of the Research
These individuals would benefit from the findings of this study: stakeholders/policymakers and students.
Academic stakeholders/policymakers: This study will aid academic stakeholders and policymakers by reducing the use of cell phones and educating students on the consequences of constant social media use.
The study will also enable policymakers to enact laws governing the use of social media in schools, as well as appropriate punishments for offenders. The tuy would also aid policymakers in regulating devices with social media access during academic activities.
This study will help students understand that too much of anything is bad, including the use of social media, which could put them in danger or cause them to become dependent on social media.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Academic performance is the degree to which a student, educator, or institution has attained their short- or long-term educational objectives.
Perception is how something is viewed, comprehended, or interpreted.
Social media is the creation, publication, and sharing of content from an author to a crowd, providing a location for horizontal interaction among the crowd.
A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization that can influence, be influenced by, or perceive itself to be influenced by a project’s decision, activity, or outcome.
Students: Individuals enrolled in a college, university, or other institution of higher education.
University: The grounds and structures of a higher education institution
A university student who has not yet earned a degree is a freshman.
THE PERCEPTION OF STUDENTS TOWARDS THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS