ABSTRACT: The study investigated the increasing use of social media among students in seeking information focusing on Kaduna State University Students. It is arguably pointed out that Social media has recently transformed the citizen into both an information consumer and a provider. The theories that led support for this study are Technological Determinism Theory and Uses and Gratifications Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted while questionnaire were used as a research tool in eliciting data from the selected respondents. The respondents were drawn using quota sampling technique while the collected data were analyzed using frequency and percentage methods. Having analyzed the data, the study finds out that majority of the respondents have access to social media with a least present on 2 social media. Students logged in regularly to WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook than on other social media. And as a result of this the degree of social media usage among students of Kaduna State University is high. Most of the respondents equally claimed that they now have access to lots of information compared to the previous era. It is recommended that government should make sure that owners of website and blogs within the country abide to the laws of defamation, obscenity, and invasion of privacy. This can be done by setting up a body whose sole responsibility is squarely on monitoring the manifest content of internet materials.
Keywords: SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG STUDENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Information and communication technology (ICT) has become an integral part of modern-day society. Students of all ages and levels of education are increasingly relying on ICT to seek information related to their studies and other social interaction. However, social media is one of the ICT tools that have altered students’ interaction and seeking information, and it is widely used as a source of information. With the rise of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram, Tiktok and YouTube, students can easily access information on various topics (Yahaya and Ayodeji, 2019).
One of the most significant advantages of social media is that it provides students with instant access to information. Rather than spending hours in the library or researching through textbooks, students can easily find the information they need with just a few clicks. Social media platforms also allow students to connect with experts and professionals in various fields and ask them questions directly (Yahaya and Ayodeji, 2019).
Moreover, social media provides students with an opportunity to collaborate and learn from their peers. They can join groups or forums where they can discuss topics of interest, share information, and seek feedback from others. Although, the use of social media as a source of information has some drawbacks. Firstly, not all information found on social media is accurate or reliable, and students need to be careful to verify the information they find. Secondly, social media can be a significant source of distraction, and students may spend more time scrolling through their feeds than studying (Nwangwa, Yonlonfoun, Omotere, 2014).
By and large, social media is an essential tool for students seeking information. It provides instant access to information, allows for collaboration with peers, and offers an opportunity to connect with experts in various fields. However, students need to be cautious about the accuracy of the information they find and avoid falling into the trap of distractions (Nwobasi, Uwa, Ossai-Onah, 2013). 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 became an issue of debate among Nigerians on social media, blogs, web pages and so on within few seconds of the incidence with difference headings and picture picked from different angles. To this end, the research is aiming to examine the use of social media as a veritable source of information and communication among Nigerian students with a specific focus on the Kaduna State University Students
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
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 palmtops, iPods and blackberry, android phone, laptop and other IP 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 investigated the increasing use of social media among students in seeking information. The specific objectives of this study are to:
- examine the degree to which Kaduna State University students are using social
- Determine the amount of time students are spending on social media.
- examine the extent to which social media influence students’ academic
- Know how credible are sources of information sharing, posting and twitting 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 Kaduna State University students?
- How much time do students spend on social networking media?
- To what extent do social media influence students’ academic performance?
- How credible are sources of information sharing, posting and twitting on social networking sites?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE 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 social media within the last seven years.
However, Danah Boyd has gathered a collection of research about social net working sites that lists approximately one hundred and fifty research papers, three books, and seven research reports published in the years 2003-2010. (Boyd, 2010) None of these papers covers Africa. This shows a lack of research that concerns the African region and especially Nigeria where this form of media is greatly used.
Therefore the overall motivation for conducting this study is to contribute to research about social media in Nigeria. This research should also create a platform for further research in this field and how it affects business processes as well other spheres of 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 which investigated the increasing use of social media among students in seeking information has been narrowed to Kaduna State University Students. Thus, the geographical location of this study is Kaduna State University. The choice of the institution is the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time, fund and other logistics. However, the demography of the respondents were examined before the administration of the research collection instrument such as their age group, gender, educational level, religion and others.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
To effectively do justice to this research project, there is need to explain some of the key words:
Information Technology: IT is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones, computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce and computer services.
Social Media: A group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
Information: This means an idea, feeling, expression packaged in a particular form.
Internet: It refers to global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
Citizen Journalism: This is the practice is a term which describes the act of individual within a given society, community, state or nation engaging in the gathering, processing and publishing of news materials.