Abstract: In this era of Information and communication technology, social media especially blog, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok and many others have revolutionalised and redefined monopoly of news and information by mass media (radio, television, newspaper and magazine industries) as it enhanced citizen participation in news gathering and dissemination. The research investigated the influence of new media on information acquisition by undergraduates in Lead City University. New media has in the recent time turn the citizen not only as information consumers but also as information distributor which is now known as “Citizen Journalism”. Most citizen own their own blog, group and room on new media sites where they publish news stories and acquire more information. Others do get their stories from videotubes such as YouTube. Survey research method was adopted while questionnaire were developed as a research tool used to elicit data from the selected respondents. From the responses gathered, it was observed that majority of the students are having access to the new media or social media. Students logged in regularly to WhatsApp, BBM and Facebook than on other social media. And as a result of this, the degree of new media usage among Lead City University students is high. Most of the users of new or social media spend 6-10 hour on a daily basis. In order to make online messages more accurate and credible government should make sure that owners of website and blogs within the country abide to the laws of defamation, obscenity, and invasion of privacy and this can be done by setting up a body whose sole responsibility is to monitor the manifest content of internet materials.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Advancement in technology in this era has improved and enhanced effective communication in our society today especially among the students of tertiary institutions. The advent of social networks is a cyber-revolution that changed the course of time. Olayinka (2014) observes that the fast development in technology is fuelling an information revolution. New media, digital broadcasting, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok and Whatsapp), mobile application, video games, blogging, smartphones, mini-laptop, tablet computer, and internet are sweeping away the limitations of the analogue world and weakening the grip of government-owned platforms of information mono-poly.
Omojuwa (2015) writes that a space that was all about power brokers and media moguls has become so deregulated you could consider it the freest space in Nigeria right now. Social media is that space, the many tools helping to amplify the voices of average Nigerians, taking ordinary voices and making them extraordinary by bringing them to homes, offices, and places most of them would have probably never reached under different circumstances. It started out as a playground for mostly young jobless people.
The emergence of social media technology in the face of developing societies has herald change of status quo within the socio, political and economic ecological setting of any society. The advent of social networks is a cyber revolution that changed the course of time.
According to Tom Glocer, CEO of Reuters, one of the world biggest International News agencies, He believes that the era when government of a nation would filter the news of what the people listen to, hear or read is about eroding, because citizens are now part of information gathering and information dissemination.
Apart from the fact that social media has been able to break the barrier in news reportage; making people know the true nature of happenings around them, it is now being use as tool of political propaganda, sensitization, insurgence and a medium of dissent. Unlike in the past, the people of the world are today living in a global village because of various breakthroughs in information technology. According to a Canadian Professor of English Marshall Mcluhan, cited in Bamikefa (2012) “The world is now in a global village where the whole world is now compressed into a single electronic chat room”.
Olayinka (2012) says information that usually takes many days or weeks to disseminate now takes seconds or minutes. It is now possible for people including professional communicators, public speakers and others to get desired information as quickly as possible from other areas of the country or from other countries with the coming of internet without leaving their immediate environment.
Durojaye and Bamikefa (2004) observe that the growth of technology toward the end of the 20th century propelled by the emergency of the internet, satellite e.t.c led to what is called “Modern media or New Media or social media. Social media is a term in this present world that meant to encompasses the emergency of digital, computerized or networked interactive information channel (Olayinka, 2013).
Similarly, newspaper, magazine, radio and television are some of the examples of mass media in that they are intended to reach vast audiences. But these forms of media previously could not be produced readily by the average person. The advent of relatively inexpensive, personal media technologies like social network, blogging, podcasting and Internet video allowed the average literate person to do what was therefore restricted to media companies.
Elshout (2012) the author of the cited newspaper article says “Social networks form a good platform for organizing countervailing power by political activists and consumers”. People can discuss government policies, programme, activities and pass their judgement through social media and other information technology which translated to their participation in governance. For instance the recent bombing at Yanya Motor Pack in Abuja while just concluded general elections in Nigeria in Nigeria is still an issue of debate among Nigerians on social media, blogs, web pages and so on.
Today, it is now common among students, political parties, political candidate, political activists among others to discuss, share and comment on political events in the country especially in mobilizing support for a particular political party or candidate in an election. 2015 presidential election witness the highest use of new media/social media in the political history of Nigeria. In fact the under-age citizens were not left out as they are growing in political socialization through social media.
In fact, few days to the poll it was political argument on who wins the presidential elections among social media users on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and YouTube etc. Even before the Presidential election, social media platform play a crucial role during Governorship poll in Osun and Ekiti State June and August. During the poll, citizen observers, the civil society, political party situation rooms, party agents etc. monitored the election process mainly through SMS, using twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube among others for the purpose of tracking happenings at the polling centres.
Few hours later, results have been surfacing in poll units and are been disseminated through social media which them drawn the attention of political parties, local observers towards the analysis of the result. Although INEC constantly advised that genuine election result should be monitor on social media but through INEC designated channels. In fact many knew that APC have defeated PDP in Osun while it was also clear that PDP have also defeated APC in Ekiti state respectively. Other aspect it serves are cyber activism, education as students now form groups on social media to discuss class matter or share view and assignments on the platform. To this end, the research seeks Influence of new media on information acquisition by undergraduates using Lead City University as a case.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The introduction of information technology in Nigeria is a welcome development. The use of internet (ICT) for educational purposes is also of immense benefit especially in the area of being globally relevant, current and in seeking the needed information. However, when it becomes a substitute for good means of social interactions and academic study among young people, it should give cause for concern.
Students nowadays spend the better part of their time in school on information technology devices such as iPads, android phone, laptop and GPRS phones. On close enquiry, one usually finds out that they are social networking with friends and rarely getting information on their various school courses. Often times, information sought is subject to the use of technological media especially for pleasure, to while away time and to interrelate with friends and pals on Facebook, Twitter e.t.c. The question this research seeks to answer is; how has social networking influenced students with regards to their academic performance.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Although, the primary objective of this study is to assess the degree of social media usage as a major source of information and communication among students
The specific objectives of this study are to:
- examine the degree of new/social media usage among Lead City University students.
- ascertain problems of social networking sites as source of information among Lead City University students.
- Know how credible are sources of information sharing, posting and tweeting on social networking sites.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to provide solutions to some of the issues begging for the answers and solving problems of this research; below are some of the research questions that have been formulated:
- What is the degree of social media usage among Lead City University students?
- What are the problems of social networking sites as source of information among Lead City University students?
- How credible are sources of information share, post and tweeting on social networking sites?
1.5 Significant of the Study
Fundamentally, it is essential we understand current usage and behaviour and identify potential problems so that they can be addressed. This can be seen in the amount of academic studies on new media or social media within the last decade.
Therefore, the overall motivation for conducting this study is to contribute to research about new media in Nigeria. This research should also create a platform for further research in this field and how it affects students’ information acquisition and general social life.
This research should provide useful data for market researchers, marketing and product development professionals as well as educators as to how they can maximize social media for optimum benefit in their various fields.
Future researchers who many what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials as reference point.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study has been limited in scope to City University students, because it is very difficult if not impossible to study all students in Nigeria due to time, fund, geographical structure of Nigeria and other logistics. Yet any finding arrived at will be generalized on other higher institute of learning students in Nigeria.
1.8 Operational Definitions of Teams
To effectively do justice to this research project, there is need to explain some of the key words:
New Media: It refers to digital device or media that enables sharing and interaction of idea, information, concept, opinion between users with effective feedback such as: internet, social media e.t.c
Information Acquisition: In this research, it means the task of getting or capturing all sorts of relevant information about how things are done.