The study seeks to assess the social media perception and usage among students of Nigerian universities. Three research questions guided the study. Survey research design was adopted for the study. The population for the study is 1816. The sample size of the study was drawn using Wilmer and Dominic to get 451. 451 copies of questionnaire were distributed and 317 copies of the questionnaire were returned. Data was gotten from both the primary source and secondary source. The primary source was gotten from a structured questionnaire while the secondary sources were gotten from text books, library, and journals. The method of data analysis was frequency distribution tables and analyzed using simple percentage approach, from the analysis; it was discovered that students spends time longer than necessary on social media, students prefer chatting on social media than talking with their friends, students uses social media to source information happening around the world. Also from the study it was gathered that social media enhances quality education, students can learn from social media because they have access to educational materials online. It was recommended that Students should spend more time on their academic studies than they spend time on social media. Government should take charge of monitoring what goes on in the internet and awareness should be created on the proper use of social media.
1.1 Background of the study
Social media are fast becoming very popular means of both interpersonal and public communication in Nigeria and the world at large. Social media are modern interactive communication channels through which people connect to one another, share ideas, experiences, pictures, messages and information of common interest. What distinguishes the social media from the conventional means of communication is their interactive nature which allows the audience to participate in it from any part of the world they reside. McQuail (2010) differentiates the social media from the traditional mass media when he noted that “traditional mass communication was essentially one-directional, while the new forms of communication are essentially interactive. This interactive feature of the new media confers an unprecedented popularity on them. Social Media are media that allow users to meet online via the Internet, communicate in social forum like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and other chat sites, where users generally socialize by sharing news, photo or ideas and thoughts, or respond to issues and other contents with other people. Common examples of social media are the popular social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, Flicker, etc. Social Media is an interactive media format that allows users to interact with each other as well as send and receive content from and to each other generally by means of the Internet.
Social media are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberation by stakeholders across boundaries, time and space. These technologies include: blogs, wikis, media (audio, photo, video, text) sharing tools, networking platforms (including Facebook), and virtual worlds (Bryer and Zavatarro, 2011). The rise of social media sites as another platform on the internet has gained popularity over the last decade. The sites have attracted millions of users worldwide (Boyd, & Ellison, 2007) due to this fact many people are changing the outlets where they search for news, information, business and entertainment. These social media sites let those who use them create personal profiles, while connecting with other users of the sites. Users can upload photographs and post what they are doing at any given time. (Pempek, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2008). The social media by their nature have the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and inflaming the audience. Above all, they possess a contagious and outreaching influence which the conventional media lack. This potential is most likely what Osahenye (2012) refers to as “unstoppable power of the social media.
Now just like radio or television stations, social media sites spread everywhere in Nigeria and are bound to be sprouting as technologies continue to improve; however, the problem lies in the point that the purposes which the users apply the new media for are still obscure. This is what Folorunso, Vincent, Adekoya and Adewale (2010: 326), perceived when they argue generally that, “in Africa, social media networking site is becoming widely spread than it has ever been before and it tends to be majorly accepted by the youths. Yet the widespread adoption by users of these sites is not clear, as it appears that people’s perception of this technology is diverse. By and large, this study among other things is set to methodically examine why the students in universities within South-East Nigeria make use of the social media. The reason for such academic inquiry is to unravel some of the fundamental purposes which students use the new media to achieve. The rapid development of both technology and the skills and knowledge of social media users means that what makes up ‘social media’ continues to change at a rapid rate, as new websites and online content appear each day. As Jacka and Scott (2011:5) argue, ‘there is no single recognized definition of social media.’ For many people, well-known social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter typify social media. The sites have become enormously popular across demographics of race, age and gender, and have hundreds of millions of users. Jacka and Scott (2011:5) contend that it ‘can be said that social media is the set of Web based broadcast technologies that enable the democratization of content, giving people the ability to emerge from consumers of content to publishers’. The ABC (2011) has produced a Technology Explained website, where definitions and explanations are provided for modern technical and online terms. The website comments that: ‘Social media encapsulates digital tools and activities that enable communication and sharing across the net ... Social media is used prolifically by all areas of society; business, politics, media, advertising, police and emergency services. It has also become a key tool for provoking thought, dialogue and action around particular social issues’. The Social Media Guide website (2011) has listed some 50 definitions that it says it has collected from various other websites. In its terms, ‘social media is user generated content that is shared over the internet via technologies that promote engagement, sharing and collaboration.’ Kaplan and Haenlein contend that social media as we know it today can probably be traced back more than two decades. While it was unsophisticated by today’s standards, users could post public messages on sites such as Usenet. Not surprisingly, the advent and availability of high-speed internet access has led to a proliferation of sites and an explosion in their popularity (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010:60). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010:61) developed their own technical definition of social media: ‘Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.’
1.2 Statement of the problem
The use of the social media as channels of communication is a growing trend in Nigeria now, and in virtually all parts of the globe. In the country, almost everyone including university students make use of social media. Social media is a double-edged sword. Its power - for good and for bad - resides in us.” That is to say; people (users) determine what they do with social media. The rate at which social media is used is very high especially among university students which often leads to reduction of time the students devote to their studies. To ascertain if social media have any positive input on the students’ studies is a major concern. .The life of a student is consumed with studying, assignments and projects. However in this modern technology era, the life of a student is also consumed with countless social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other countless sites and this makes it difficult for students to focus on studying. It is observed that some of the students use the social media to engage in cybercrimes which could cause harm to the victims. For some students, they easily get addicted with social media that it begins to interfere with their lives (Wilson, 2015).
These constitute the core problems this study seeks to systematically unravel how the Social media perception and usage among university students.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
As a central objective, this study seeks to assess the social media perception and usage among students of Nigerian universities. Specifically, the study is meant to;
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are proposed
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to literature regarding social media use based on academics in Nigerian universities. The research was conducted in Enugu because of the concentration of students within who are active users of social media.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of benefit to these persons; stakeholders/policy makers, student.
Stakeholders/policy makers in academics: this study will help the stakeholders and policy makers as they will reduce the use of cell phones and educate the students on the implication of using social media all the time.The study will also enable the policy makers to take measures in enacting laws that will guide the use of social media in the school, and appropriate punishment for offenders. The tuy would also help policy makers put a check to devices that can gain access to social media during academic activities.
Students: this study will help the students understand that too much of everything is bad which includes the use of social media as it might endanger them or make them become addicted to social media.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Academic performance: is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals.
Perception: the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.
Social media: Social media is the creation, publishing and sharing of content from an author to a crowd, providing a locus for horizontal interaction across the crowd.
Stakeholder: An individual, group or organization who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity or outcome of the project.
Students: A person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education.