The internet introduced a new dimension to the media landscape. It signaled the start of technological transformation and socialization, as well as a greater desire for information about everything. This eventually evolved into social media, which is essentially information about people.
The internet has elevated the process of information dissemination, transforming it from a simple medium of socialization or information seeking to something much more. With this advancement, users are driving content in unprecedented ways (Dominick et al., 2013). This has resulted in a transformation in more than one medium; there will be more to come as new trends emerge on a regular basis.
According to Shapiro, as cited by Croteau and Hoynes (2003), the emergence of new digital technologies signals a potentially radical shift in who controls information, experience, and Covenant Journal of Communication.
Students’ use of social networks has recently increased due to easy access to internet-connected devices such as smart phones, iphones, blackberries, tablets, ipads, and laptops (Griffiths, 2011). Addiction to social networking sites has skyrocketed in recent years. The dangers of its effects on the academic performance of over-involved students are concerning.
Academic performance, as measured by student grades (Jenkins, 2006), is a major concern at Benue State University, Makurdi. Students who spend too much time on social media become dependent on them, and their academic performance suffers as a result. School grades are thought to suffer when too much time is spent on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, as valuable study time is lost (Sherry et al., 2008).
As a result, research into the effects of social network usage on university students’ academic performance is required. Overuse of social networks undoubtedly has some negative consequences that may outweigh the potential benefits and have serious consequences for the academic performance of its victims. Students devote significant time to commenting, updating, reading, and sharing posts on social media. Turkle et al. (2007) argue that there is a statistically significant negative relationship between students’ time spent on social networks and their academic performance.
According to Adelabu (2011), the prevalence of social networking sites and the impact they have on the lives of young people provides compelling evidence of the global impact of today’s Internet. Some see this new medium as a threat, while others see it as the path to utopia.
People use the internet for a variety of purposes, some of which may be addictive. Griffiths and Kuss (2011). The widespread popularity of social networks on the internet may be cause for concern, especially given the increasing amount of time youths spend online. Social networking sites are virtual communities where users can create public profiles, interact with real-life friends, and meet new people based on common interests.
They enable individuals to build a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, Zhang, (2008) articulate a list of other users with whom they have a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections as well as those made by others within the system (Hoynes et al., 2003).
Individuals can network and share media content on social networking sites, embracing the main web 2.0 attributes within the framework of their respective structural characteristics (Jenkins, 2006). The internet has unfathomable power to influence, connect, and mobilize young people. As the internet has taken complete control of their lives, some young people have lost control of their social media usage and are experiencing difficulties in social, vocational, and personal circles.
According to Idakwo (2011), the introduction of social media has had an impact on schoolwork and social interaction. Undergraduates spend more time on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks via smartphones, which are now ubiquitous among these young people.
Many young people can’t go two or three hours without checking and updating their profiles on these social networks, even if it means neglecting other activities like education and career development. MorahanMartin and Schumacher (2000) define internet addiction as “excessive internet use and failure to control this use, which severely harms a person’s life” (Dominick et al., 2013).
The prevalence of social networking sites and the impact they have on the lives of young people provides compelling evidence of the global impact of today’s Internet. Some see this new medium as a threat, while others see it as the path to utopia. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Given the apparent student activity on Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, and WhatsApp, it became critical to understand what Twitter was used for and the dynamics of such usage. Furthermore, the research was inspired by audience participation in some programs on the, which revealed that only a small percentage of students use Twitter when compared to responses generated by other platforms. As a result, the purpose of this study will be to determine how students use Twitter (A case study of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Social networking sites have evolved from a few-user phenomenon to a phenomenon with billions of users. The rise in popularity of social networking sites has raised concerns among school administrators, communication experts, and socio-psychological researchers about the benefits and risks that undergraduates face as they use online social networking to meet their social and information needs rather than oral or face-to-face communication.
Sherry, (2012), the founder and director of the MIT initiative on technology and self, asserted that the convenience that social networking sites provide users for communicating with one another can harm their interpersonal communication.
Furthermore, social networking sites force users to see one another as “objects” to be accessed only for the parts that the users find useful, comforting, or amusing. Furthermore, according to John J. Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, addiction to social networking sites can establish feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of insensitivity to disconnection (Cacioppo, 2009). As a result, some method of selecting and responsibly using the right social networking site must be devised. This study is concerned with the trend of Twitter use, what benefits students derive from it, the dangers associated with it, and how to avoid such dangers (Moeller et al., 2010).
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study’s overarching goal is to discover how undergraduate students at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti perceive and use Twitter. The following are the study’s specific objectives:
To investigate how undergraduate students at Afe Babalola University perceive and use Twitter.
To investigate the purpose of Twitter usage by Afe Babalola University undergraduate students.
To determine the advantages of using Twitter.
Identifying the risks associated with social networking sites.
To propose strategies for mitigating the risks associated with Twitter use.
QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
The following questions will guide this paper:
What motivates students to use Twitter?
How do students gain access to Twitter?
What is the most popular Twitter activity among students?
To what extent do Afe Babalola University undergraduate students use Twitter?
What are these students’ motivations for using Twitter?
THE STUDY’S IMPORTANCE
The findings of this study are expected to benefit students and the administration of the University of —- by revealing the extent to which students use Twitter. This will help them understand how to keep students’ attention on social networking sites. This work will also be of great benefit to the field of library and information sciences because it will add to the existing literature.
And will also contribute to the existing academic literature on social networking. The findings could also be used by academic advisers and counselors to provide professional advice to university officials on how to regulate social network usage among undergraduate students at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti.
Again, the study’s findings will provide facts that will allow the ministry of communication technology to understand what results from students’ use of social networking sites. Following the successful completion of this research, the ministry will have a better understanding of how to control social network usage; it will be very relevant to many people across Nigeria.
THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVE
The scope of this study is limited to students at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti’s perception and use of Twitter. Geographical scope: it covers the perception and use of Twitter by undergraduate students at Afe Babalola University, the benefits of using Twitter, the purposes of using Twitter, and the risks associated with Twitter use (Boyd et al., 2007).
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