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(Last Updated On: 6th December 2022)

ABSTRACT: The research investigated the increasing use of social media as tool for sharing selfies among undergraduates in Nigeria. Social media remained platforms for interaction, communication, and sharing of photos facilitated by the emergence of smartphone that offers “selfie”. No doubt, smartphone made social media in sharing selfies among students. The study was anchored on Technological Determinism Theory. A survey research method was adopted in which 200 copies of questionnaires were administered and 192 were retrieved and analysed using frequency and percentage. Findings show that 100% of the respondents use social media with many of them having at least 3 to 5 years of experience. Also, the most visited social media platforms include and with their engagement dwelling on information getting, chatting and making friends. Also, the majority of the respondents (95.8%) share lots of photos on social media to a high extent, especially on Instagram (57.3%) followed by Facebook 34.9%. Though, the photos ranged from personal, group and to special event photos. It is recommended that social media users should be conscious of what they share as photos online because it goes with their privacy. Also, social media users need to understand why they are joining social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram in the first place so that they would not be overcome by any negative impacts but rather use these sites for maximum benefit.

Keywords: Selfies among Undergraduates


1.0       Introduction

1.1       Background of the study

Using smartphones to take photographs and share it on social media has become one of the busiest activities on social media today, especially on Facebook and Instagram etc. This popular act is otherwise known as taken and sharing “Selfies”.  In fact, many youths and adolescents have made sharing of photo the social media as their hobby, they do it very often. Especially to capture events and activities around them such as during naming ceremony, pre-wedding photos, wedding photos, adventures, promotions, encounters, accidents among others.    

It is common to see people to photo studio to take photograph and keep photo album again, rather they use their smartphones to take photos and upload instantly online. Without doubt, photo sharing practices of young people are heavily intertwined with their mundane everyday life and online interactions. Needless to say, online and off-line lives are intrinsically enmeshed. Young people share photos frequently, through various platforms and often ‘on the go’. Such mobility allows users to share photos remotely and irrespective of time and place.

On Snapchat young people often employ a higher level of self-disclosure and have reduced self-presentational concerns compared to other social media platforms (Larsen and Kofoed, 2015; Bayer, et al., 2016). Their photo sharing practices can best be described as “networked photography” referring to the sharing of images immediately after they are captured, using, for instance, instant messaging (IM) tools or social media applications (Lobinger, 2016) and as “visual conversations” with a high frequency of interactions among sender and receiver (Katz and Crocker, 2015). As Lobinger (2016) notes, photo sharing has become a pervasive routine communicative act in everyday life. This is especially true for young people who are the most frequent users of photo sharing social media applications such as Snapchat and Instagram (Thaarup and Scheutz, 2015; TNS Gallup, 2015). 

Therefore, we can say that advancement in modern technology has revolutionized all faces of communication, interaction and socialisation during the past decades, access to the people, information, businesses, governance, educations, social etc. have practically become available anywhere and anytime at very quick, cheap and easy ways.

Kur (2004) in Awake, (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 2lst century and more centuries to come rest on a technological revolution. No wonder, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English Professor in 1964 propounded the concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the tendency of becoming a “global community” where information and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world and without mincing word, the impact of internet in achieving this feat cannot be underestimated. The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers; through which more than 190 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions.

Over the past few years, social media and digital media have drastically changed how people consume content, especially in the fashion industry. People are no longer picking up magazines as often as they did in the past. Today, content is consumed online and people are not only reading content, but they are offering their feedback through comments and social media. Multiple types of fashion blogs managed by everyday people are giving consumers an inside look into what used to be an exclusive, fashion-experts-only industry.

The enormous infusion of social media, in terms of bloggers, internet celebrities, and ecommerce websites, especially targeting the younger generation, influences the way we dress and what we feel is ‘fashionable (Jigna, 2015). Fashion and lifestyle bloggers today are highly reputable and influential individuals and those extremely committed to their craft have, earned industry recognition. We are constantly being introduced to ‘what is trendy’, on a global scale! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, popular Blogs and Pinterest are incessantly demonstrating; exotic travel destinations, the latest trends, in terms of food, fancy recipes, beauty products and gorgeous fashion and accessory pieces.

People now get their beauty ideas from YouTube tutorials and other popular websites, where fashionable men and women share their fashion ideas, style tips and what they are wearing! Online tutorials help the youth population to learn a variety of styling techniques, like – makeup tricks, nail art, create tricky braids and outfit ideas for a night out. Social media allows us to become more style- savvy, and enables you to express yourself freely and to identify your personal style and create an exciting wardrobe. ‘Social Media has made fashion & lifestyle more accessible and what’s wonderful is that, now all have an opportunity to be trendy & stylish (Rohina, 2015). It is against this backdrop that the research examined the increasing use of social media as tool for sharing selfies among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria especially among undergraduates of the Unilag.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The dynamic nature of the 21st century and more centuries to come rests on technological revolution. No wonder, McLuhan in 1964 propounded the concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the potentials of becoming a “global community” where information, business and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world.

The emergence of social media and smart phones in this era has continuously influenced the socio-cultural, attitude and perception to issues including fashion, beauty, costumes and general appearance. Although, many research studies have been carried out on social media but few if any has been specifically conducted on how social media influence photo sharing among students. Even where available many of such researches were conducted in the developed nations of which it findings cannot be replicated in Nigeria and Africa generally due to the cultural background, education, orientation and values. One of the problems this research noted is that many lifestyle trends available online are of Western values with foreign models which is against Africa and Nigeria lifestyle taste. These making most of the photo online come in the form of extra makeover, wearing of mini-skirt, bump-short, tie leggie, backless, armless, half shoulder, sagging among other and even many a times, porn appearance. 

The research, conducted by TK Maxx, (2014) reveals the extent of this influence shift. Research has revealed the influence of social media on our personal style and shopping habits. It is against this background that the research examined social media as tool for sharing selfies among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria especially among University of Lagos undergraduates.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  1. To ascertain whether undergraduate students of UNILAG share photos on social media.
  2. To determine the frequency at which UNILAG undergraduates share photographs on social media.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. To what extent are undergraduate students of UNILAG share photos on social media?
  2. How often do UNILAG undergraduates share photographs on social media?

1.5     Scope of the Study

The research which investigated the increasing use of social media as tool for sharing selfies among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria was narrowed in scope to University of Lagos (UNILAG) students of the Lagos. The institution is selected for its proximity and because this practice is common among undergraduates in Unilag.

1.6       Significance of the study

The research of this nature will no doubt beneficial to lots of individuals, higher institutions of learning and parents. In concrete term, the study will achieve the following: 

  1. The study will help students and youth to understand the implications of their excessive placement of photographs online especially as it relates to their privacy in order to improve and adjust to the moderate posting.
  2. This study will give a clear insight into how and the type of photo expected on people especially girls and ladies who have been major vulnerable of cyberspace. This study will present the implications of sharing photos online among other.
  3. Nigerian students will find this research useful as it will enable them to know how to effectively explore the Internet for academic advancement, social interaction rather than for frivolity.
  4. This study will be beneficial to the management and lecturers of tertiary institutions and secondary schools on the need to raise awareness on photo sharing and excessive use of the social media because many young girls have been killed by social media lovers.
  5. Future researchers and scholars who many what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials very useful and serve as reference material. Above all, this study will serve as an addition to existing literature on the topic.
  6. The research findings will expose parents and guardians on the extent at which social media dictate and influence the dressing pattern and social behaviour especially new pattern of sharing nudity pictures in the cyber community.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Social Media: This is technological foundations of web 2.0 that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Nigerian Undergraduate: A person formally engaged in learning especially one enrolled in a tertiary institution like UNILAG.

UNILAG: University of Lagos, Akoka Lagos

Selfies: This refers to the activity involving using smartphone to take photograph usually by oneself.


WHAT TO EXPECT: (Chapter 1-5, Abstract, Table of Contents, Questionnaire and References)

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