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THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR
1.1 Background of the study
Internet has changed the way people interact. Communication and access to information has been made easier. Use of internet is now not only about communication through emails but is also a platform on which people interact. Today it is possible to attend a classroom being taught abroad while seated somewhere in rural Kano or give evidence directly to an international court in real time with no need to travel, thanks to internet. Sunitha and Narayan (2010) observe that internet is now more about blogs, podcasts, Facebook, and Twitter – tools and technology also called social networking sites a recent phenomenon. Social network sites are the web-based services that allow individuals to
(1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,
(2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). Social network are fast becoming very popular means of both interpersonal and public communication in Nigeria. Social networking sites are modern interactive communication channels through which people connect to one another, share ideas, experiences, pictures, messages and information of interest. Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites as: ‘‘Web based services that allow individuals to construct a Public or semipublic profile within a bounded system articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.(pp.78-100.) They are interactive networks which information and communication technology (ICTs) bequeath to the modern society through the instrumentality of the Internet and the telecommunication gadgets. The Internet makes it possible to expand the networks and to increase the possibilities for communicating with wider audiences on the globe. The interactive aura of the new media confers an unprecedented popularity on them. Also the ubiquity of the social networking sites within their short period of arrival is unparalleled in the annals of media industry. Awake (2011) buttresses this point by noting that ‘‘social networking has become hugely popular. Similarly, it took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users, 13 years for television to attract the same number and 4 years for the Internet to do so, but it took Facebook 12-month only to gain 200 million users. Social networking sites provide various interactive platforms based on the intentions of their founders. There are for instance, social, political, academic, businesses, sports, romantic and religious platform. In other words, the social networking site by their nature has the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and inflaming the audience. Onomo (2012) acknowledged this ability of the media by remarking that social networking sites has become ‘‘a widespread tool for communication and exchange of ideas, helping individuals and organizations with just causes to reach a phenomenally vast audience that could hitherto not be reached by traditional media. Most of the members to these social networking sites are young people who are still in school. Al-Rahma and Othman (2013) inform that there is no doubt that social media has gained wider acceptability and usability and is also becoming the most important communication tools among students. A large percentage of teenagers in Kenya spend their time online either using smartphones or their computers and other handheld gadgets such as ipads and tablets browsing these social networking sites. Students in all levels of education seize every opportunity they get to access social networking sites to check on status on Facebook and what is trending on Twitter. Teenagers have learnt to multitask as they switch from one SNS to another. The social media has been a platform for interaction among the young and the elderly. Thus, people use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, 2go, MySpace, WhatsApp amongst others to create and sustain relationships with others (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). These social media sites enable those who use them to create personal profiles, while connecting with other users of the sites. Users can upload photographs, post what they are doing at any given time and send personal or public messages to whoever they chose. In this information age social media sites seem to be growing in popularity rapidly, especially among young adults (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2008) Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, and Zickuhr (2010) noted that social media sites have created new non-personal ways for people to interact with each other and young adults have taken advantage of this technological trend enhance communication. In recent years, social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn have become the most visited websites in the world, with Facebook topping the list. With over 90 million active users in 2009, Facebook boasted an 85% market share at universities and colleges in the United States (Hendrix, Chiarella, Hasman, Murphy, & Zafron, 2009). In 2010, Facebook increased its traffic by nearly 70% with more than 115 million unique visitors. MySpace ranked second while Twitter soared immediately after it (Friedman, 2010; Nielsen Market Research, May 4, 2010). Today, Facebook has more than 800 million active users.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are several media reports of Nigerians of all ages falling victims or perpetrators of the online scam or fraud. They wreak the live of other Nigerians and foreigners through the advance fee fraud running into millions of Naira, Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros (Gabriel, 2015). According to Gabriel (2015) “whether they call it 419, Obtaining By Trick, OBT or Yahoo-Yahoo, it is the same story. People are using the internet to perpetrate scams that deprive many of their hard earned money, destroy businesses and make nonsense of their lives”. Studies have revealed that many people (email and Social Media users) especially youths are victims of such frauds which in one way or the other has affected their lives (Button et al.; Ngo-Ye, 2013; Idolor, 2012; Graziolo and Jarvenpaa, 2003; Nikitkov and Bay, 2008). It is on this premise that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of the rising trend in the use of social media networks by students in seeking information.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of the rising trend in the use of social media networks by students in seeking information, but to successfully complete the study; the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives:
i) To investigate the impact of social media on the accessibility of information by student
ii) To investigate if social media network serve as a reliable source of information to student
iii) To examine the role of social media in improving the academic performance of student
iv) To ascertain if there is any relationship between social media network and student academic achievement.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: social l media network does not have any impact on the accessibility of information by students of higher learning
H1: social l media network does have impact on the accessibility of information by students of higher learning
H02: social media network is not a reliable source of information to students of higher institutions
H2: social media network is a reliable source of information to students of higher institutions
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of importance to the students of higher institutions as the study seek to emphasize on the dangers of relying on information published on social network site, and the benefit accrue to students who make use of this site as a source of information. The study will also be beneficial to the owners of this social media network site, as the study will suggest possible ways of improving on the quality of information published on the site, the study will be useful to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic, as the study will serve as a reference point, finally the study will be useful to the students, teachers, lecturers, academia’s and the general public as the findings will add to the pool of existing literature
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the rising trend in the use of social media networks by students seeking information in Nigeria higher institutions, but in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
A social networking service is an online platform that people use to build social networks or social relations with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections
Information is that which informs. In other words, it is the answer to a question of some kind
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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