1.1 Background of the Study
Contemporary technology in communication has no question helped to serve as an avenue for connecting people and as a tool of interaction in the social world and educational field. As a result, higher education has been exploring the exciting opportunities that technologies have brought to institutions, educators and students. Consequently, there has been rapid growth in the availability and uptake of online teaching and learning by several colleges and universities. Technology has transformed the method people interact and has brought about the emergence of an open social platform through social media. This enables individuals to quickly get in touch with each other, thus making the world a global village. The introduction of social media has influenced significantly students both in their academic and social life as a way of making connections for different purposes.
Boateng & Amankwaa (2016) opined that social media has affected teachers, students, and other academic stakeholders to unite with each other to promote knowledge construction in teaching and learning. Therefore, McLoughlin & Lee (2007) mentioned that using social media platforms has affected positively people with creating diversification between various categories of individuals. Using social media has become global. A few of the popular social media platforms are Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Tiktok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, to name a few. Institutions and academics are constantly exploring social media technologies for collaboration and knowledge construction. Today, social media is used in higher education institutions as a platform where students get in touch with their instructors, fellow students and other scholars around the world.
The functionality of the ICTs was made possible with the Internet and worldwide web (www). Both developments have facilitated the use of ICTs by countless people around the world. Ijeh, Umukoro and Amune (2015) posited that the internet provides lots of opportunities to seek, process, share, and keep information. The internet permits countless people around the globe to send and receive messages in form of text, photos, video, and filmstrips, therefore creating a network of users. Agba (2001) as mentioned by Ijeh etal (2015) asserted that social media and social networking sites are sites which allow people ranging from two persons to countless individuals using aliases (account names), to exchange messages in form of texts, graphics, photos, audio and audio-visuals at the same time. Agba's assertion indicates that everyone that joins a social networking site has access to messages sent and received by other people in the network. It is thought that social media have substantial influence of users. Baran (2004) exemplified the power of socials media on the Internet when he pointed out that the massive gathering of protesters from scores of various groups all over the world to protest against World Trade Organisation in Seattle in 1999 was engineered by social media on the internet. Another instance is the Arab Spring of 2011 that swept through the Middle East and part of Africa. Baran further argued while mentioning Taylor (2003) that the capacity of social media to achieve effect and influence is getting higher; and geographically dispersed groups, connected only by this thread of communication technology are drawn together at a moment's notice to carry out some collective actions. Users of social media engage in a range of purposes. Ufuoplu-Biri (2013) highlights purposes of using social media as ranging from making friendship, chatting, courtship, commerce, education, to mass communication. In the very same vein, Udende and Azeez (2010) stated that academic users of the internet use it for academic and other allied purposes. This implies that users of social media use these sites for various purposes depending on their needs for accessing the sites. It is on this claim that this study seeks to examine the extent and pattern of social media utilization among University of Jos students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Using social media in education offers students with the ability to get better information, to get in touch with learning groups and other educational systems that make education convenient. Social network devices afford students and institutions with several opportunities to improve learning techniques. As opposed to this, some students have drawn away social media use to non-educational, unethical and unsuitable actions and behaviors. It shows up that some students, instead of taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by social media for learning purposes, have shifted their focus on using it for other factors. Although social media can potentially enhance student learning with interactions, it can likewise impact negatively on students' academic achievements. Taking into account this circumstance, the study for that reason analyzes the extent and pattern of social media utilization among University of Jos students.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main aim of this study is to investigate the extent and pattern of social media utilization among, using University of Jos students as a case study. Thus, this study is specifically geared towards the achievement of the following core objectives:
i) To identify the commonly utilized social media platform among university of Jos students
ii) To Examine the Pattern of utilization of Social Media among University of Jos Students
iii) To examine the extent of utilization of Social Media among University of Jos students
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the above objectives, the study raised the following questions:
i) What are the commonly utilized social media platform among university of Jos students?
ii) What is the Pattern of utilization of Social Media among University of Jos Students?
iii) To what extent of utilization of Social Media among University of Jos students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
i) There is a significant influence of social media usage on undergraduate studies.
ii) There is no significant difference on the level of students’ exposure to various sites of social media.
iii) There is a significant correlation between the benefits students, derive from the social media and internet usage.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study seeks to find out the extent and pattern of social media utilization among University of Jos students and its findings will be relevant in the following ways:
The findings are significant as it will help researchers and scholars know the usage pattern of social media among University of Jos students. Among other objectives, this study will ascertain which social media is mostly used by University of Jos students and this finding will help social crusaders and mobilisers who are interested in reaching Nigerian students generally and University of Jos students, particularly, to know which social media to use for effective communication campaign.
The study will equally determine what students of University of Jos students, use social media for. This knowledge will provide perspectives on the basic concepts of media uses and gratifications. This will serve as a barometer to measure the tastes and preferences of University of Jos students, in particular and Nigerian students in general. This, no doubt, will facilitate interventions where the needs arise.
Significantly, this study will make contributions to existing literature on usage pattern of social media by students as well as the uses and gratifications the students obtain from using it.
Lastly, this study will provoke further researches into its perspective, themes, findings and limitations.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is on the extent and pattern of social media utilization among University of Jos students and will be limited to only undergraduate students of the school.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in this study:
Internet: the network of inter-connected computers.
Pattern: A particular sequence of events, facts, etc. which can be understood and used to predict the future, or seen to have a mathematical, geometric, statistical.
Social Media: interactive forms of media that allow users to interact with and publish to one another, generally by means of internet.
Student: A person who studies or learns about a particular subject.
Usage: The manner or the amount of using; use. Habit or accepted practice.