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Influence Of Social Media Usage On The Information Behaviour Of Undergraduate Students In Selected Universities In Kwara State, Nigeria

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Abstract

This study examined the influence of social media usage on the information behaviour of undergraduate students in selected universities in Kwara State, Nigeria. Five (5) research objectives were formulated for this study. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The population for this study comprised of undergraduate students in Al-Hikmah University, Kwara State University and University of Ilorin. Israel (2003) sample size model was used to calculate the sample size with precision levels of 5% and confidence level of 95% and the recommended sample size was three hundred and eighty-five (385).A simple random sampling technique was used to select the sample from the population. The self-designed questionnaire was divided into five sections. Content-related approach of validation was conducted to ensure validity of the instrument while Cronbach alpha was used to test the reliability of the instrument and the overall reliability coefficient of the instrument is r= 0.679. The collated copies of the questionnaire were analysed with the IBM SPSS version 21.0. The presentations of the data for the research objectives were done using frequency counts and percentage table. The findings of the study shows Facebook as the most preferred social media tools by undergraduate students. The findings further revealed that there is a high usage of social media among undergraduate students. The findings also showed that the major purposes of using social media by undergraduate students are to connect with friends and for academic activities. However, the findings generally show that there is a significant relationship between purpose of using social media and information behaviour of undergraduate students. Since the benefits attached to using social media cannot be overemphasized,among numerous recommendations based on the findings, the study therefore recommended that, university management should ensure that they integrate social media applications into their learning and teaching system.

 Chapter one

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Social media is often lauded as a potentially transformative information resource. Information is the power house of the present emerging technological driven society. Today, information has been seen as heavily stressed factor that shapes the society. Information is a life blood of present society; it is accepted as a key issue in today’s viable world (Prabhavathi, 2011). Over the last several years, information increased significantly in a large variety of formats. This information overload gave the foundation to the idea of studying the information searching or seeking behaviour of users or human information behaviour (Fasola&Olabode, 2013).

Information that is publicly available can be shared to enable people to perform various tasks in their private and official capacities (Davies, Rafique, Vincent, Fairclough, Packer, Vincent &Haq, 2012). The need to make choices among several information sources leads to variations in people’s information behaviour. In judiciously making effective use of information, the society has exhibited a kind of behaviour known as information behaviour.Information behaviour has been drastically transformed by the arrival of the internet and, in recent years, of social media.  Just as it is known, new technologies helps facilitate and provide flexibility in communicating and sharing of resources.

The 21st Century has been characterized with unprecedented increase in the

technological advancement around the world. Among these are advances in Internet facilities, establishment of libraries, development of information technology, improvements in communications multimedia and sophistication. Adeniyi (2004) established that everybody needs information to reach his or her potential and that the more information that is available to a system about itself and about its environment the more reliable it becomes and the greater its chances of survival.

On other hands, social media has become pervasive, playing a dominant role in the social structure of the society and changing the nature of social relationships (Al-Sharqi,

Hashim&Kutbi, 2015). It has revolutionized the way we communicate, interact and socialize. This new approach to consuming and creating information is in particular attractive to youths as a platform and space for activities not possible in the face-to-face context (Leea, Chena, Lia & Lin, 2015). Social media plays a vital role in the sharing of information and is used to convey different types of information (i.e. sensitive, sensational, political and casual information) (Osatuyi, 2013).

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Although the history of social media is not really new, but it has only recently become part of our mainstream cultural activities both in the social and business world, people have been using digital media for networking, socializing and information gathering almost exactly like now for over 30 years (Boyd &Ellion, 2008).  Defining social media, in ClickZ, social media started as a concept many years ago but has evolved into sophisticated technology. The concept of social media can be dated back to the use of the analog telephone for social interaction. Facebook started as a local social network made for the students of Harvard. It was developed by a sophomore, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was actually made by hacking Harvard’s data base containing identification images of students. The initial idea was actually to compare the faces of students with images of animals, for entertainment purposes. However, due to the potentially damaging contents of the site, the creators decided to put it down before it caught the attention of school authorities. The application was shut down, but the idea of creating an online community of students came to existence. The platform was then improved and sooner than they expected, Facebook was released in campuses other than Harvard. Thereafter, high schools were already starting to get attracted to the idea of having online communities, thus opening the website to the younger population. In 2006, facebook.com ultimately offered the opportunity to the rest of the world. As 2007 approached, the registrants reached an overwhelming digit- roughly a million dozen .Facebook has grown to become the biggest and most popular social networking site today with a population of above 500 million active users (Facebook statistics, 2012).

Social media has increasingly influenced the information behavior of students in higher education over the past decade. Social media is a broad concept covering a wide range of the Internet applications that support social communication between individuals (whether direct or indirect, synchronous or asynchronous), with an emphasis on interaction between users (i.e. conversation or dialogue), user-generated content, and building of online relationships and communities (Turban, King & Lang, 2011). Social media is centered on enhancing the progress of communication in the society i.e. sharing of ideas, thoughts, and opinions among people.

Among the vast variety of online tools which are available for communication, social networking sites (SNS) have become the most modern and attractive tools for connecting people throughout the world (Aghazamani, 2010). It is also about allowing people to connect with others just as it has been for many years. According to Khoo (2010), social media applications have influenced all areas of our lives and are having a major impact on how we live, work, play, learn and socialize. Social media in its various manifestations present a golden opportunity and rich environment to study information behaviour, as much of the information (in text, image and video format) are recorded and stored in publicly accessible repositories and on personal devices (Khoo, 2010).

Basically, social media is a collection of interactive web-based applications integrated on Web 2.0 technology that enable active interactions between web multiple users to create and share information (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; O’Reilly, 2007). Although social media and Web 2.0 are distinct concepts they have been used interchangeably in the literature. However, Web 2.0 represents a newer platform foundation of the web which consists of a set of technologies such as Adobe Flash, Really Simple Syndication or RSS to enable richer content to be published on the web (O’Reilly, 2007). By contrast, the foundation of social media is based on user generated content (UGC), that is, various forms of media content created by internet users and available on the web based on Web 2.0 technology (Kaplan &Haenlein, 2010). Social media applications include blogs and micro blogs (logger & twitter), wikis (Wikipedia), social networking (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn), multimedia sharing services (YouTube), content syndication (e.g. RSS feeds), podcasting and content tagging services (Anderson, 2007; Hansen, Shneiderman, & Smith, 2010).

Social media technologies are enjoying a phenomenal success, for example, Facebook, a social networking website, claims that its active users reached 1.8 billion worldwide, more than 50% of which log in every day (Facebook, 2017). In the same vein, Twitter, a micro-blogging website hosts 317 million users who post on average 500 million tweets per day (Twitter 2017); More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, watching more than 6 billion hours of video (YouTube 2017), and at the same time it is estimated that there are over 181 million blogs worldwide (Nielsen 2012). Among the users of social media are students who use social media tools for many purposes such as access to information, group discussion, resource sharing and entertainment (Wang, Chen & Liang, 2011). This has generated speculation on their use and related positive and negative implications, in both the short and long terms.

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The expediency of accessing remote information through social media has resulted in tremendous popularity for web,which has given a new dimension to the library and information centers. In light of this, the job role and concept of library and librarians is dramatically changing with the application of information and communication technologies (Quadri, 2012). The Internet has successfully entered all the areas and to a great extent is affecting the library and information centers. A wide range of public domain and commercial information sources are currently available on the internet such as bibliographical/full text databases, table of contents of journals, discussion forums, technical reports, preprints, biographies, directories, data archives, teaching and training material, library catalogues, software etc (Vijayakumar, 2015). Furthermore, Internet use has become a way of life for the majority of higher education students all around the world (Vijayakumar, 2015). Social media support all kinds of social interactions, mediated and captured by Internet applications including mobile applications (Khoo, 2015). The online communities that evolve exhibit social and collaborative information behaviour that can be studied.

In this modern society, information behaviour is a day-to-day activity that is essential to people in of all vocations and skilled occupations across various disciplines and professional groups (Yemisi, 2014). The proliferation of online social media has undoubtedly affected how students nowadays learn. Twenty first century learners, often considered critically engaged learners, are the technologically savvy students in today’s classrooms (Moore et al., 2008).They also tend to be plugged into social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and many more throughout the course of their everyday activities (Rhoades, Friedel, &Irani, 2008).

The term information behaviour is the currently preferred term used to describe ways in which human beings interact with information, in particular, the ways in which people seek and utilize information (Bates, 2010). In other words, information behaviour covers a wide range of user behaviour in relation to information and information systems, including information need generation, information creation, seeking, encountering, sharing, giving, assessment, management and use. These are studied in the context of different kinds of tasks in work, every day and play environments. All these aspects of information behaviour can be studied in the context of social media use.

George (2012) claimed that some of the challenges associated with use of social media stem from the risks inherent in student internet usage. Romero-Fríasand Montano (2010) further argued that it exposes students to inappropriate material, un-wanted adult interactions and bullying from peers. Similar remarks were made by Romero-Fríasand Montano (2010) that Web 2.0 is also a source of concern regarding issues such as, privacy, authorship and ownership rights, digital divide in the classroom or time management issues. Additionally, Thomas (2009) stated that information overload is another challenge,whereas Keen (2007), lamented quality of content as a major concern.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There is no doubt that social media has gained wider acceptability and usability and is also becoming probably the most important communication tools among students especially at the higher level of educational pursuit. However, it has been observed that the rate at which students use social media is critically affecting their information behaviour either positively or negatively (Christopher, 2010). Additionally, several studies have been carried out by some researchers like Lenhart and Madden (2007); Boyd (2009); Madge, Meek, Wellens and Hooley (2009); Christopher (2010); Virkuss (2010); Wang, Chen and Liang (2011); Kumar (2012); Ndaku (2013); Kumar and Kumar (2013); Eke, Omekwu and Odoh (2014) on the use of social media among undergraduate students. It is therefore evident that these studies were conducted on social media usage but focuses of those studies were mainly on adoption, utilization and challenges in using social media. However, there is more to explore in terms of influence of social media on information seeking behavior of university undergraduate students, particularly among undergraduate students in Kwara state. In line with thisproposition, this study seeks to investigate the influence of social media on the information behaviour of undergraduate students in Kwara State.

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1.3       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the influence of social media on the information behaviour of undergraduate students in Kwara State.The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. identify social media tools preferred by undergraduate students; ii. determine the extents of social media usage by undergraduate students; iii. examine the purpose of social media usage among undergraduate students; iv. study the information behaviour of undergraduate  students on social media;
  2. investigate the influence of social media usage on information behaviour of undergraduate students.

1.4      Research Questions

This study seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the social media tools preferred by undergraduate students? ii. What are the extents of social media usage by undergraduate students? iii.          For what purpose do undergraduate students make use of social media? iv.     What are the information behaviour of undergraduate students on social media?
  2. How does social media usage influence information behaviour of undergraduate students?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

H01: There is no significant relationship between the purpose of using social media and information behaviour of undergraduate students.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of social mediausage on the information behaviour of undergraduate students in Kwara State. Specifically, the scope of this study is limited to undergraduate students in three universities in Kwara state. These universities are Al-Hikmah University, Kwara State University and University of Ilorin, Nigeria. The variables of interest for this study are restricted to social media utilization and information behaviour.

1.6        Significance of the Study

According to Ikoja-Odongo (2000), the importance of a study can be measured by the contributions that it makes to the people under investigation and the society as a whole. It is anticipated that this study will be useful in understanding the influence of social media usage information behaviour of undergraduate students in the surveyed universities.

It is hoped that the results of this study will assist the management of the university and library, to take note of the social media usage pattern of undergraduate students and how they can capitalize on it to achieve the institutional objectives.

Findings from this study will help tertiary schools administrators to understand the information behaviour of students and the use of social media; knowing this will help them in their policy making.

Also, findings from this study will add to the existing body of knowledge in social media utilization and information behaviour. Hence, it is expected that study will provide a rich source of empirical data for other studies that are related to social media and information behaviour.

1.7        Operational Definition of Terms

Information Behaviour: Information behaviour encompasses information seeking as well as the totality of other unintentional or passive behaviours as well as purposive behaviours that do not involve seeking, such as actively avoiding information.

Social Media: Social media is generally defined as “forms of electronic communication as web sites for social networking and microblogging through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content such as pictures, videos etc. Social Media Tools: These are technological products that allow ones to be able to use social media. Examples are: internet, smart-phones, modem, etc.


Pages:  95

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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