1.1     Background to the Study

Nowadays, social media is regarded as the most commonly utilized method of communication. It is being used by individuals belonging to all walks of life. No doubt it has been widely accepted by the general public because of its effectiveness in communication. Social media platforms are very numerous and therefore include Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, snapchat, vine, Tumblrand the likes. The main purpose of social media is to give access to its clients and users. They can have conversation with individuals and construct social relations on the web. They can likewise share their contemplations and individual data on social media including everyday happenings, suppositions, pictures, recordings and web-links. Also, individuals can promote their business and individual aptitudes. The capacity of online networking to spread valuable data quickly has made it the quickest developing method of association. Social media networking has changed numerous businesses; however the most striking impact of it is in the classrooms and the overall education system of this generation. It has enabled the students to develop adequate interpersonal relationship skills in a number o ways. Whether it is using private social gatherings, Facebook Pages, classroom Twitter profiles or web journals, school after school has grasped long range of interpersonal communication using some form of social media. With such a high rate of students using social media networking on daily basis, there is a strong need to analyze the extent to which social media is having its impact on students particularly on their interpersonal relationship.

There is no doubt that online networking sites specially the social media have conveyed individuals closer to one another more than ever, yet specialists and researchers around the globe have been searching for the weaknesses that might have been faced by its users. After the presentation of cell phones, the utilization of online networking has risen exponentially. With the ascent in the utilization of long range interpersonal communication locations, the edge of customary individual collaboration had been changed and will be more distinctive for the up and coming era. The long range interpersonal communication has its consequences for society inside and out for instance, specialized techniques, self-expression, disengagement, relations and the sense of humanity.

Researches have shown that heavy users of social media like Myspace felt less socially involved with the community around them than light users (Nyland, Marvez, and Beck, 2007). Furthermore, a substantial proportion of respondents were using this social network for entertainment, as opposed to maintaining or strengthening offline relationships. This line of research echoes one of the most pervasive criticisms against social media that its lead to users‘ isolation (Hodgkinson, 2008). On the one hand, there are studies that support a rich get richer perspective, where those that are psychologically better-off (e.g., have high self-esteem and life satisfaction, have more offline contacts, are more popular, etc.) gain more from using internet services (e.g., Tian, 2003). On the other hand, there is research that supports a poor get richer perspective, where those that are less well-off gain more from the internet than those who are better-off (Stern & Dillman, 2006).

Nie (2001) argued that internet use detracted individuals from face-to-face interactions, which might diminish their traditional interpersonal relationships. However, later research has found that online communication has a positive role on individuals‘ participation in community life, fostering norms of trust and reciprocity (Best & Dautrich, 2003; Kavanaugh, Reese, Carroll, & Rosson, 2005; Kobayashi, Ikeda, & Miyata, 2006; Räsänen & Kouvo, 2007). Moorman et.al (2010) conducted a study on the role of social media on interpersonal relationships of university students. It has been found from the study that interpersonal relationship quality is stronger in low faceboook users. It means that there could be some negative impact of social media on students‘ interpersonal relationship. But the reason is not identified in the above mentioned study as the study depends on only quantitative data though it deserves qualitative data to find out the reasons of negative impact. Ellision, Steinfied and Lampe (2007) conducted a study to examine the relationship between facebook users and students social capital. Interesting results have been found in Nyland (2007) study that face-to face communication is the tool that fulfills more media gratification than the social networking sites. Most of the social media users in Nigeria are students (both undergraduates and postgraduates). Though a good number of studies have been conducted about social media users and undergraduate but very few studies have been focused on new dimension of changing nature of interpersonal relationships of undergraduate students through social media. The present study is an attempt to explore this knowledge gap by using mass communication students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State as a case study.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

It has been a well-known truth that in order to utilize social networking websites, one needs to create an account and sign in every time they want to access the website. Every social networking site does not give its clients a choice to keep their online appearance private. In addition, there is an absence of mindfulness on approaches to hide the private data of the clients. Due to this reason, individuals face various privacy and accountability issues while utilizing online networking. Besides, there have been questions on the quality and dependability of the data that is accessible on the online networking in view of the absence of following back the realities. Individuals want to get the news instead of checking it. This makes them deceived and once in a while prompts mistaken assumptions. Moreover, it gives them a misguided feeling of being progressive. Another challenge is the issue of social media on generic health concerns of the society. The reason behind this is people prefer to play games online that do not involve any physical activity. The purpose for this is individuals want to play games online which do not involve any physical action. The main concern of this study is to investigate the main idea of social media interpersonal relationship, its importance and utilization among undergraduate students in Nigeria. The study will also focus on how the use of social media effects daily life of the students and how it influences their relationship with people outside school, their academic as well as their social prosperity.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to investigate the effect of social media platform on interpersonal relationship among undergraduate students of mass communication. The specific objectives however include;

i)            To examine the prevalence of social media usage among undergraduate students of mass communication.

ii)          To study the influence of social media on interpersonal relationship of undergraduate students of mass communication.

iii)        To study the positive effects of social media usage on the interpersonal relationship of undergraduate students of mass communication.

1.4  Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)            What is the prevalence of social media usage among undergraduate students of mass communication?

ii)          What is the influence of social media on interpersonal relationship of undergraduate students of mass communication?

iii)        What are the positive effects of social media usage on the interpersonal relationship of undergraduate students of mass communication?


1.5  Research Hypotheses

The following will be the research hypotheses to be tested for this study:

i)              There is no significant correlation between social media useage and interpersonal relationship.

ii)            There is no significant relationship between social media usage and interpersonal relationship of undergraduate students.

1.6     Significance of the Study

Inter-personal relationship with social media is preferred greatly nowadays around the world. It is also common among university students. University students prefer new technological devices more when compared with the older generations. Especially, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, whatsApp etc are preferred mostly by the new generation. Determinative role of new generations is important for the communication habits of the future generations. Therefore, inter-relationship choice of university students as new generation will indicate communication devices and communication channels of the future. Accordingly, it can be claimed that the effects of social media on university students are of significant and worth researching. This study focuses on the effect of social media platform on interpersonal relationship among undergraduate students using mass communication students as a case study.The aim of this study is to determine whether the use of social media has negative or positive effects on the university students’ inter-personal relationship.

Therefore, the study can be a good academic source for researchers, especially in Nigeria, where there is scanty of such literature. This research will be as a trusted academic source and pave the way for scholars, lecturers and students to know the effects of social media, and the effects on the undergraduates' inter-personal relationship. It will raise the awareness of the people about either positive and negative impacts of social media on the inter-personal relationship of students in Nigerian society. It will also encourage students to use social media beneficially as effective communication tools as well as educational media to improve their knowledge and skills.

1.7     Scope of the Study

This study will be carried out among the undergraduate mass communication students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria.

1.8   Limitations of the Study

This study is only limited to and within the reach of all those in the sample population who have access to the internet. This limitation is due to scarcity of resources both financial and human for the research preparation, data collection and analysis as well as lack of time due to the limited time schedule.