ABSTRACT: The study’s objective was to analyze social media as tool for social relations among Osun State University Students. The research was anchored on Technological Determinism Theory, and Social Category Theory. The study used survey method while questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the 150 respondents who are students of Osun State University, Osogbo campus that were selected using probability sampling (simple random sampling technique). The data collected were analyzed using frequency and percentage method. Findings revealed that, almost all students are using one type of social media and they spend great time on Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. Respondents’ busiest activities on social media are getting information, sharing opinions and chatting with friends and family. The students admitted that with social networking, face to face interactions are diminishing because they now prefer chatting and calling instead of meeting and talking physically. It was recommended that students should spend their time wisely while they should try visiting and relating with friends and family offline.
Keywords: Social Relations
Table of Contents
Title page i
Table of Content vi
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Problem Statement 3
1.3 Objectives of the Study 4
1.4 Research Questions 5
1.5 Significance the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 5
1.7 Limitations to the Study 6
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms 6
2.0 Literature Review 7
2.1 Empirical Framework 7
2.2 Conceptual Review 8
2.3 Theoretical framework 24
3.0 Research Methodology 26
3.1 Research Design 26
3.2 Research Method 26
3.3 Study Population 27
3.4 Sample Size 27
3.5 Sampling Technique 27
3.6 Data Collection Instrument 27
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Research Instrument 27
3.8 Data Collection Instrument 28
3.9 Data Analysis Procedure 28
4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis 29
4.1 Data Analysis 29
4.2 Demography of the Participants 29
4.3 Discussion of Findings 39
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations 40
5.1 Summary 41
5.2 Conclusion 41
5.3 Recommendations 41
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 and how we interact. Before now, people interact with friends, families and institutions etc via physical contact, sending letter through 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 and interaction with distance friends and relative 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, smartphones 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 social media 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 a virtual game, education has become e-learning and e-book. Other activities that the internet has plugged into are e-dating, e-friend, e-marriage, e-politics, e-music, e-movies, e-meeting, e-communication and interaction (Colin, 2014).
Today, students 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. 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. 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.
This is evident when Alexarank.com ranked facebook and Twitter.com as the first and second most visited social media globally (Alexarank, 2016). On the other hand, Social interaction is considered to be a dynamic sequence of social actions between individuals or groups who modify their actions and reactions due to actions by their interaction partner(s). Also, social interaction can be described as a way by which people talk and act with each other and various structures in society (Wikipedia, 2017). For the purpose of this study such social interactions will be among the students of University of Lagos i.e inside and outside the campus interaction.
However, proliferation of social media has serious altered our social relationships among other physical meetings. Among the many ironies of our modern digital age, is that, social networking is actually ushering anti-social relationship when you consider its tendency to displace “real life” or “face-to-face communication”. A new survey suggests that people consciously favor social media to other forms of communication (Erik, 2016).
Erik (2016) writes that Swedish furniture giant IKEA polled 12,000 people in 12 big cities around the world and found that 68% of respondents said they prefer communicating with other people online – and that includes people in their own home (the classic scenario of messaging someone in the living room from the kitchen). He added that 26% of respondents ages 18-29 said they think having Wi-Fi is more important than a lounge room where they can entertain guests who visit in from Shanghai. Similarly 19% of all respondents think online contact is more important than inviting friends over, while 16% of respondents said they check social media in the bathroom (maybe a privacy issue again?) and 40% said they check social media when they wake up in the middle of the night.
Without doubt, it is obvious that people of this generation especially students in tertiary institutions not only in Nigeria but in many countries of the world are now addicted to the smarphone while their busiest activities on it is the social networking, dating, chatting and watching (Mark, 2007).
In her opinion, Melissa (2012) points out that technology has offered us some kind of opportunity to socially connect with people that might not ordinarily be possible before especially in the area of creating, building, maintaining long-distance relationships with friends, family, teachers, business etc yet, the social media and other e-activities seem to be subtly destroying the meaningfulness of interactions we have with others, disconnecting us from our real world, creating virtual world, and leading to an imminent sense of isolation in today’s society. Instead of spending time in person with friends, we just call, text or instant message them. It may seem simpler, but we ultimately end up seeing our friends face to face a lot less (Melissa, 2012).
It is against this backdrop that the research examines the influence of social media as tools for social relations among students of Osun State University, Osogbo with the view to know the extent at which UNIOSUN students are using social media platforms for social relations and interactions.
1.2 Problem Statement
Advancement in technology in this 21st century has reshaped all human activities on earth to include communication and how we interact. The world is becoming a global village as postulated by Prof. Marshal McLuhan where the use of computers, smartphones and internet facilities is indispensable. Social media is among the numerous means through which people interact and communicate in virtual atmosphere rather than in a physical setting.
Today, millions of people are now on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others exchanging views, ideas and other related matters with a good number of them being young. Since social media have emerged as tool for interaction and communication among youth particularly students in Nigeria, it has continued to influence their ways of life. However, despite the usefulness and potential of the emerging world, yet it has altered to a large extent the social interaction because friends have abandoned physical visitation, meeting, group reading among other. Previous researchers observed that this emerging habit is believed to have started damaging social interaction to a large extent the recent time.
It is against this background that the research examines the influence of social media on social relations among students of Osun State University, Osogbo with the view to know the extent at which UNIOSUN students are using social media platforms for social interactions and the level of damage it has done to the social interaction.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine the extent at which social media have been used for social relations and interaction among Osun State University, Osogbo
- To examine the extent which social media have altered the social relations and interaction among Osun State University, Osogbo
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent are Osun State University, Osogbo use social media for social relations and interaction?
- To what extent social media have altered the social relations and interaction among Osun State University, Osogbo
1.5 Significance of the Study
Since social media have emerged as tool for interaction and communication among youth particularly students of Osun State University, Osogbo and Nigeria in general, it has continued to influence their ways of life including their interaction, feedback and socialization in general apart of academic advancement. Thus, the value of this study will be beneficial to the management team, students, future researchers and technical centers at Osun State University, Osogbo.
The management and lecturers at the Osun State University, Osogbo could use this research to create programmes and formulate better lecture materials or study guides that include social media as a learning and communication tool and this would in turn boost academic performance. The outcome of this research will lead to a better understanding of social media, its uses towards social interactions for class and outside lecture.
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 while the findings will serve as eye opener to parents and guidance’ eyes on the need to monitor their children social media content especially assessing their performance.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research investigated the influence of social media on social relations has been narrowed in scope to Osun State University, Osogbo. The institution is selected because this is the practice in UNIOSUN campus apart from its proximity to the researcher. Other factors include the time available for this study since it will not only be difficult but may be impossible to study all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This cannot be effectively achieved without considering the demography factors of the respondents such as: age, gender and academic level before the structuring and administration of data collection instrument.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Influence: This refers to the contributions and impact of social media on how Osun State Polytechnic Students relate, interact and communicate with one another.
Social Media: It is a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 which allow the interaction, creation and sharing of information (as a text, video, audio, pictures, animation or combination).
Social Relations: This means how UNIOSUN students relate in person with friends in the classroom, hostels and other physical relationship as against reaching out to them on the social media.