Abstract: This study compare how social media & radio stations influence how people access news focusing on the Twitter and Splash FM, Ibadan. The Source Credibility and Uses and Gratification Theories served as the foundation for this study. A research used survey research method alongside a questionnaire that were administered to respondents. The respondents were purposively selected. The data were analyzed in frequency and percentage method using SPSS version 23 and the data were presented in tables. Findings show that Twitter is the most preferred with over 80% subscribed to that. This implies that students and youth of this generation have a preference for the new media like Twitter and Facebook for information. Also, news attracted (50%) while sports lovers are (27%) compared to other category of news they sought. Majority of the respondents (83.3%) have a strong preference for (Twitter) new media to traditional mass media while Twitter is meeting their information needs and gratifications largely and this is supported by over 50% of the respondents. Similarly, the core factors influencing people preference for the Twitter are the availability of the content around the clock, convenience and interactivity nature of the platform. It was recommended that media outfits whether traditional or social media outfits should from time to time review their contents/programmes by carrying out audience survey to know the perception of their audience since the hallmark of a programme/contents is the attention paid to it by the audience.
Keywords: Social Media and Radio Stations
1.1 Background of the Study
A century and half ago, communication between countries involved physical presence. Once, a reporter had to run as fast as possible back to the newsroom after interviewing and tried to beat the competition to print. With the advent of the digital age the role of the journalist changed.
The inception of information communication technology such as the internet has made it possible to find out about events without actually being there. Journalists can report news across the world over the internet.
Throughout history, developments in technology and communication have gone hand-in-hand, and the latest technological developments such as the internet have resulted in the advancement of the science of communication to a new level. The process of human communication has evolved over the years, with many path-breaking inventions and discoveries heralding revolutions. The invention of pictographs or the first written communication in the ancient world brought about written communication. These writings were on stone, and remained immovable.
The invention of paper, papyrus and wax, culminating in the invention of the printing press in the 15th century made possible transfer of documents from one place to another, allowing for uniformity of languages over long distances. Lawal (2005). The latest revolution is the widespread application of electronic technology such as electronic waves and signals to communicate, manifesting in the electronic creation and transfer of documents over the World Wide Web (wikipedia, n.d)
Social media which are form of electronic communication have become the highest activity on the internet. They refer to social networking websites developed to specifically to help people share their views and stay in touch with their friends, relatives and well- wishers.
According to Wikipedia, social media represents a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information content which brought about the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.
Social media are also internet sites where people interact freely, sharing and discussing information about each other and their lives, using a multi-media mix of personal words, pictures, videos and audio (Bruce and Douglas, 2008). In order to broaden our knowledge on the topic of study, a brief history of social media will be discussed below.
In the early 1990s, chat rooms and bulletin boards were forms of social media; in that they helped people connect with others and share interests. A little later, dating sites hooked together those looking for partners, and Classmate.com. let people connect with people they had known in high school and college. In the early 2000s, a site called Friendster was set up where people invited their friends to join and in turn, those friends invited other friends.
The site was popular for a while but it suffered from technical difficulties and fake profiles and began losing members. Some of those members went to MySpace, which had actually started in 1999 but became better known in 2003.Its roots are a little muddy because it received financial and logistical support from another company called e-Universe, and most of the early users were e-Universe employees but Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe are given credit for much of the innovations and success of the site which built up to 115 million users worldwide. Members post bios, photos, blogs, videos, and other things that strike their fancy, and some TV programmes to air on MySpace. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch‟s News Corporation (parent of Fox Broadcasting) bought MySpace for 580 million dollars.
A competitor to MySpace, Facebook was started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg while he was a student at Harvard University; it grew up rapidly about 2007. At first Facebook was solely for college and high school students, but Zuckerberg opened it to everyone and like MySpace, it encourages all types of member postings (Lynn Gross, 2010). Apart from the above mentioned social media tools, there are also others.
These include; Twitter, YouTube, Tiktok, Flickr, Word Press, Blogger, Badoo, Live Journal, Wikipedia, TypePad, Second Life, Lulu, and many others. All these social media appear in many forms including blogs and microblogs, forums, and message boards, social networks, wikis, virtual worlds, social bookmarking, tagging and news, writing communities, digital storytelling and scrapbooking, data, content, image, video sharing, podcast portals and collective intelligence.
Similarly, Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets” (Olayinka, 2014). It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched in July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. Since its launch Twitter has become one of the top 10 most visited websites on the internet and has been described as “the SMS of the Internet.” Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or a range of apps for mobile devices.
Journalism on the other hand, is the deliberate and conscious efforts to gather information, collating and analyzing data for the purpose of informing, educating, and entertaining the people with a view of making an appropriate decision (Qasim, 2007). Journalism is also an investigation and reporting events, issues and trends to a large audience (Ewu, 2002). Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience about topics ranging from government and business organizations to cultural aspects of society such as arts and entertainment. The field of journalism include; editing, photojournalism and documentary (Isa, 2010).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Social media have certainly changed the way journalists work, how stories are developed and disseminated. Social media or online journalism places far more power in the hands of the users allowing the reader to challenge the traditional role of information dissemination. Traditional media have been forced to adopt the new media from wider reach and accessibility.
Ade (2011) writes that traditional newspapers are folding up in the USA as more people migrate online to get their news thus owing to the unemployment market in their thousands. To survive, many of the unemployed journalists have had to turn to using blogging for journalism to not only earn a living, but do the only thing they know how and to do and love to do. Though, journalists in Nigeria have not yet started losing their jobs. The population of youths who migrate on line to get their news grows this phenomenon is bound to have a negative effect on the circulation figures of newspapers and listening audience in Nigeria. To this end, the research is geared towards comparing social media and radio stations on the assessment of news information using Twitter and Splash F.M Ibadan.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study had the following objectives:
i. To examine the extent which students of University of Ibadan are exposed to Twitter and Splash FM.
ii. To ascertain whether University of Ibadan students’ prefer Twitter to Splash FM
1.4 Research Questions
i. To what extent are University of Ibadan students exposed to Twitter and Splash FM?
ii. What medium (Twitter or Splash FM) do University of Ibadan students prefer?
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study has been narrowed down to focus on University of Ibadan students due to the proximity to the researcher and for the fact that many U.I students are on Twitter.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immeasurable importance to journalists, media organizations, news agencies, editors, lecturers and students in the field of journalism and mass communication as well as other researchers who will want to embark on same study the future.
The study will help journalists to source useful information by using social media networking tools as well as provide them with a guide on how to write online stories. It will also help journalists to interact with their audience and identify their information needs. The study will also help journalists who have rarely embraced social media to do so in order to increase their productivity.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Comparism: It is the act of examining the strength and weakness of Twitter and Splash F.M as source of information among students of UI in order to know what students preferred and why
Social Media: The term refers to the Internet-based social networking websites developed to specifically help students of U.I get and share their views and stay in touch with their friends, relatives and well wishers.
News Information: This refers to all forms of news such as politics, sport, entertainment etc
Twitter: Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, called “tweets.” These messages were originally restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017.
Splash F.M: Splash 105.5 FM Ibadan is a Nigerian radio station, based in Ibadan, Oyo State. The station offers regular updates on international news, local news, music, interviews, business news, sport, and events. It was founded in 2007.