INFLUENCE OF FACEBOOK AND WHATSAPP AS EFFECTIVE INTERPERSONAL CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION

Abstract: The study investigated the influence of Facebook and Whatsapp as effective interpersonal channels of communication with specific focus on the students of Osun State University, Osogbo. There is no doubt about the fact that the world is completely in a global village as postulated by Professor Marshall McLuhan, according to him the world is now compressed into a single electronic room where information from far and near can be exchanged with a click of mouse or touch of screen. The theory that led support for this study was Technology Determinism Theory. The research adopted survey research method and questionnaire administer to respondents in order to elicit their responses. The data was analyzed using frequency and percentage method. Findings show that majority of the  respondents opined that they use Facebook and Whatsapp very often while many of the respondents were of the opinion that they use Facebook an Whatsapp because they offer fast means of communication, cost effective and they also offer immediate feedback. Aside Facebook and Whatsapp, majority of the respondents (42%) claimed that they use Instagram, though, many of the respondents (28%) agreed that Facebook and Whatsapp have influenced  usage of English language words to a very high extent. Recommendations are that students should also ensure they keep their existing offline relationships despite the opportunity to make new friends online.


CHAPTER ONE

                                                            INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            Human activities and events have been altered by the emergence of the internet especially in the last ten years. One of the aspects of life that has been seriously redefined is communication. Before now, people communicate with friends, families, institutions etc via letter either send through a commercial bus or somebody travelling to the same spot; and later through the post office and other means peculiar to different people in different region with no feedback or with a delayed feedback. In the search for better and effective means of communication led to the development of telephone which most homes cannot afford and it was wired then until the GSM came to the rescue.

            However, the arrival of the internet and the proliferation of the social networking platforms have completely revolutionalised the means, efforts, time and speed of communication coupled with effective feedback and interaction that goes into communication in this era. Business and commerce have moved from physical buying and selling to e-commerce, e-marketing, e-shopping, e-banking. Sport and game have shifted to e-game and virtual games, education has become e-learning and e-book. Other activities that the internet have plugged into is e-dating, e-friend, e-marriage, e-politics, e-music, e-movies, e-meeting, e-communication and interaction.

            Today, students especially in secondary schools up to the tertiary institution levels are making use of one social media or the other to get hooked and connected with friends and family where they share their status, opinions and trending events including commenting, liking, sharing and participating in group discussions.

Social media can be seen as one of the tools or platforms available on the internet that facilitate effective communication and interactions among people. Social networking has become one of the highest and busiest activities on the internet today in the world and in Nigeria in particular. For instance, Facebook.com has 1.94 billion monthly active users and over 16 million users in Nigeria as at 2017. YouTube.com records 1.4 billion users; Twitter.com accounts for 400 million users while Instagram has 275,000,000 etc.

            In Nigeria, chatting, tweeting, liking, sharing, picture upload, status management, discussing and interacting on social media are the busiest activities on the internet as well. This is evident when Alexarank.com ranked facebook and Twitter.com as the first and second most visited social media globally (Alexarank, 2016).

However, 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, “The world is now in a global village where the whole world is now compressed into a single electronic chat room”.

Meanwhile, information that usually takes many days or weeks to disseminate now takes seconds or minutes. It is now possible for people to make interpersonal communication with others to get desired information and interaction as quickly as possible from other areas of the country or from other countries with the use of social media without leaving their immediate environment.

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 social media. While social media on the other hand is a term in this present world which means the encompasses of the emergency of digital, computerized or networked interactive information channel. It should be noted that because.

            Also, social media is a form of electronic communication which facilitates interaction based on certain interests and characteristics. Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social dialogues and some of such platforms are Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. It is against this background that the study investigated the impact of Facebook and whatsapp as effective interpersonal channels of communication with a focus on the students of Osun State University, Osogbo.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

            Advancement in technology in this era has reshaped all human activities on earth to include communication. The world has become a global village as postulated by Prof. Marshal McLuhan where the use of computer and internet facilities are indispensable. Social media is among the numerous means which the people interact and communicate online.

            Today millions of people are now on social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and other exchange views with a good number of them being young.

            It is against this background that the study investigated the impact of Facebook and Whatsapp as effective interpersonal channels of communication with specific focus on the students of Osun State University, Osogbo. The study wants to finding out the extent which social media has been used as an interpersonal means of communication.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  1. To ascertain the extent at which students use Facebook and Whatsapp as means of interpersonal communication and interaction.
  2. To examine why people prefer using Facebook and Whatsapp in Nigeria.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. To what extent do students use Facebook and Whatsapp as means of interpersonal communication and interaction?
  2. Why students prefer using Facebook and Whatsapp in Nigeria?

1.5       Significance of the Study

            Basically, it is essential to understand current usage and behaviour and identify potential problems so that they can bead dressed. 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.

1.6       Scope of the Study

            The study which investigated the impact of Facebook and whatsapp as effective interpersonal channels of communication was narrowed in scope to students of Osun State University, Osogbo due to the proximity. And because it will be difficult if not impossible to visit all tertiary institutions in Osun state. Inadequate fund, time and other logistics are some of the rationale for limiting the scope of this study to the students of Osun state University, Osogbo.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

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. (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010)

Social Skills: Any skills facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways through a process called socialization.

Cyberspace: This is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place.

Blogs: A blog (a contraction of the term “web log”) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Vlogs: Video blogging, sometimes shortened to vlogging or vidblogging is a form of blogging for which the medium is video, and is a form of Internet television. Entries often combine embedded video or a video link with supporting text, images, and other metadata.

Facebook: Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time direct text-based communication between two or more people using shared clients. The text is conveyed via devices connected over a network such as the Internet.

Whatsapp: WhatsApp Messenger, or simply WhatsApp, is an internationally available American freeware, cross-platform centralized instant messaging and voice-over-IP service owned by Meta Platforms.

 

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