1.1 Background to the study
Communication is considered to be an effective tool to share idea, meaning and interact with one another, in the group, even in the mass communication sphere. Communication can be in a spoken or writing form.
For the purpose of this research, efforts is dwell on writing skill among secondary school students especially as social media are now influencing their spelling and grammar.
Social media are elements of the new media and according to Lami, A. (2011) in Danny (2010) have become the highest activity on the internet today. The concept of “social media” or “social network site” is broadly used to refer to websites that enable users to articulate a network of connections of people with whom they wish to share access, profile information, news, status updates, comments, photos, or other forms of contents.
It is observes that the rapid growth of social media activities that has been observed over the last five years is indicative of its entry into mainstream culture and its integration into the daily lives of many people because it disseminated information at a very high speed, cheaper and enhance immediate feedback been an interactive media.
Social media are web-based and mobile technologies that facilitate interaction between organizations, communities and individuals. Important characteristics are that the technologies are ubiquitous, communication instantaneous and that they enable the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
Chatting, tweeting, discussion and interacting on social media or social networking is one of the busiest activities on the internet. This is evident as Alexarank.com which ranked Facebook.com as the second most visited website globally after google.com Alexarank (2016).
Facebook.com started as a local social network made for the students of Harvard. It was developed by Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was actually made Harvard’s data base containing identification images of students. The initial idea was actually to compare the faces of students with images of animals for entertainment purposes.
However, due to the potentially damaging contents of the site, the creators decided to put it down before it caught the attention of school authorities. Today, Facebook.com not only a platform for ordinary image sharing among friends and family but has become a major platform for discussion, chatting, debate, activism, mobilization and so on.
On the other hand, apart from the good side of social media particularly Facebook, it comes with some side effect. Children’s literacy is being damaged by social media. Charlie, (2011)
Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social networking platforms are ‘harming pupils literacy as such sites causes spelling and grammar decline. The reasons are not far fetch as people tend to make communication faster and effective without waste of time resulted to the abbreviations and slangs. For instance, some write ‘l8’ (late), U (You), 4 (For), 2 (To), LOL (laugh out loud), fone (phone), nd (and), RW (reword), imp (important), B4 (Before) b/c, bc (Because), BRB (Be Right Back), BTW (By The Way), FB (Facebook) and others rely on device spellcheck to correct their mistakes. To make matters worse, many parents do nothing to try to improve these crucial skills.
In this research, effort is dwelled on the effects of Facebook on English Grammar and Spelling of senior secondary school students in Katsina-Ala local government area of Benue state.