Abstract: The research examined the influence of social media on reading ability of undergraduates. The research is anchored on Technology Determinism Theory which was explained and related carefully to this result with the aim of given depth to the research. The research also used survey design coupled with 170 copies of questionnaires that were administered to respondents in Bowen University, Iwo Osun State who were simple randomly selected from which 153 copies were correctly filled and analysed using frequency and percentage table method with SPSS version 20. Findings show that many of the students use their Twitter account for chatting, linking with friends, business and education purposes with the believe that the platform is doing them more good. Though, they agreed that their grammar, spelling is graduately being battered out in terms of quality. They also use Twitter for creating class commmunity, tweeting upcoming due date for events and cordinating assignment or group work. Findings revealed further that negative effect of Twitter and other social media can be curbed if students are using Twitter for class and outside class engagement as follow up to their studies, class community and when lecturers start penalising and guiding on on what is expected on them. The research recommends that Twitter and other social media users should have clear purpose for joining any social media particularly Twitter in the first place so that they would not be overcome by any negative impacts but rather use these sites for maximum benefit.
Keywords: READING ABILITY
1.1 Background to the study
Communication is considered to be an effective tool to share idea, meaning and interact with one another, in the group, even in the mass communication sphere. Communication can be in a spoken or writing form. For the purpose of this research, efforts is dwelled on writing skill among undergraduates students especially as social media are now influencing their spelling and grammar.
Social media are elements of the new media and according to Lami, A. (2011) in Danny (2010) have become the highest activity on the internet today. The concept of “social media” or “social network site” is broadly used to refer to websites that enable users to articulate a network of connections of people with whom they wish to share access, profile information, news, status updates, comments, photos, or other forms of contents.
It is observes that the rapid growth of social media activities that has been observed over the last five years is indicative of its entry into mainstream culture and its integration into the daily lives of many people because it disseminated information at a very high speed, cheaper and enhance immediate feedback been an interactive media.
Social media are web-based and mobile technologies that facilitate interaction between organizations, communities and individuals. Important characteristics are that the technologies are ubiquitous, communication instantaneous and that they enable the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
Chatting, tweeting, discussion and interacting on social media or social networking is one of the busiest activities on the internet. This is evident as Alexarank.com which ranked Twitter.com as the second most visited social media globally after facebook.com Alexarank (2016).
On the other hand, apart from the good side of social media particularly Twitter, it comes with some side effect. Undergraduates’ literacy is being damaged by social media. Charlie, (2011)
Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social networking platforms are ‘harming students literacy as such sites causes spelling and grammar decline. The reasons are not far fetch as people tend to make communication faster and effective without waste of time resulted to the abbreviations and slangs. For instance, some write ‘l8’ (late), U (You), 4 (For), 2 (To), LOL (laugh out loud), fone (phone), nd (and), RW (reword), imp (important), B4 (Before) b/c, bc (Because), BRB (Be Right Back), BTW (By The Way), FB (Facebook) and others rely on device spellcheck to correct their mistakes. To make matters worse, many parents do nothing to try to improve these crucial skills. It is against this background that the research examines the influence of social media on reading ability of Undergraduates.
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 is 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, 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 including their academic performance in the area of grammar and spelling in particular.
Technology is constantly blamed as the cause for grammar skill issues in younger generations i.e Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social networking platforms are ‘harming students literacy as such sites brings about spelling and grammar deterioration. For example, some write ‘l8’ rather than ‘late and others rely on device spellcheck. to correct their mistakes. To make matters worse, many parents do nothing to try to improve these crucial skills.
Similarly, thousands of students are poor spellers with little understanding of grammar as a result of too distracted and addiction to sites such as Facebook and Twitter to bother to read a book. Charlie, (2011)
Also, students nowadays spend the better part of their time in school on information technology devices particularly on Smathphones, palmtops, iPods and computer. 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 Twitter and Facebook 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
- To examine the attitude of undergraduate towards social media usage.
- To explore some of the ways which social media negative influence undergraduates.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the attitude of undergraduates towards social media usage?
- In what ways do social media negative influence undergraduates?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Since social media have emerged as tool for interaction and communication among youth particularly students of Bowen University Iwo and Nigeria in general, it has continued to influence their ways of life including their reading, grammar, spelling and other aspect of their academic.
Therefore, the research is of significance to undergraduate students of Bowen University, Iwo and other undergraduates who wish to know how Twitter is influencing them in terms of spelling, grammar, reading and other academic aspects.
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.
Teachers and lecturers will find this material relevant and useful as it will encourage them to be more interested in paying attention to the reading, performance and writing pattern of their students.
The research will open the parents and guidance’ eyes to the need to monitor their children especially assessing their performance.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research investigates the influence of social media on the reading ability of undergraduates has been narrowed to Bowen University students, Iwo, Osun State. The institution is selected because of its proximity to the researcher, 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 negative contribution of Twitter.com and other social media on the reading ability of Bowen University Undergraduates
Twitter: This is the second most visited social media platforms after facebook.com and is being used majority of Bowen University students to interact, communication and discuss.
Reading Ability: It refers to the ability of Bowen University undergraduates to read, write and perform excellently in their studies.
Bowen University Undergraduates: These are the students studying one course of the other at the Bowen University Iwo and are still in 100-500 level depend on their course of study.
Social media slang/abbreviations: It is also refers to digital slang which are unstructured term used to describe alternate words, shortcuts, symbols and images used to convey information, thoughts and opinions in an electronic document, which violate the standard rules of the English grammar and spelling. Some of the common ones are U (You), 4 (For), 2 (To), LOL (laugh out loud), fone (phone), nd (and), RW (reword), imp (important), B4 (Before) b/c, bc (Because), BRB (Be Right Back), BTW (By The Way), FB (Facebook).