The use of social media among nigerian youths.2
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An exploratory research into the usage habits of social media users in Nigeria. What do they do online?

An exploratory research into the usage habits of social media users in Nigeria. What do they do online?

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The use of social media among nigerian youths.2 The use of social media among nigerian youths.2 Document Transcript

  • CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION1.1 Background to StudyCommunication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means ofmeeting this need. The media, which is an umbrella term for various means of communication,has become an integral part of human life around the world. The earliest forms of personalmedia, speech and gestures, had the benefit of being easy to use and did not necessarily needcomplex technology.The weaknesses of not being able to communicate to large audiences led to the development ofmass media, such as writing. With these developments, the role of the media in the societybecame more and more significant. John Dewey emphasized the role of media for education asJames Agee and Walter Lippmann also highlighted the functions of the media for entertainmentand information.New MediaNew technologies can lead to new types of media and the ability to use a given form of media isrelated to the ability to use its related technology. Today, technology has made more universal,the ability to produce media. Printing, radio and television are some examples of mass media inthat they are intended to reach vast audiences. But these forms of media previously could not beproduced readily by the average person. The advent of relatively inexpensive, personal mediatechnologies like blogging, podcasting and Internet video allowed the average literate person todo what was theretofore restricted to media companies. These forms of media are still referred to 1
  • as new but they have become part of society even as much as the traditional media in some partsof the world. In a few years, the term “new media” might not be very suitable because theseforms are becoming part of our daily lives and the fusion with traditional media might dilute thefact that it is new. They are also referred to as “alternative media”, but if compared to the roles ofthe media as defined by Walter Lippmann, John Dewey and James Agee, they satisfy thedefinition of any other kind of media and some theories which apply to traditional media mightapply to new media as well.Humanity has always lived through times of great change. Every age it has passed through hasbeen based on beliefs and (new) technologies, responding to the needs of individuals anxious toadjust to new forms of socialization. A time of great change is a period in which society looksfor meaning. Information is already a tool, the principal tool, which people use to perceive andunderstand their environment. Language and culture help people filter this information, whilecommunication tools help them process it.Whenever a group of individuals have to process a larger quantity of information, they invent acommunication tool to assist with the transition from one period to another. When a great changeoccurs, a society swings between innovation, which keeps its systems in motion, and stability,which, in turn, prevents a descent into anarchy. Sociologists call this the “edge of chaos”;psychologists use the term “homeostasis”. This function ensures that the system remains stableby preserving what exists, while also incorporating the information likely to threaten itsequilibrium. There is also the issue of self-regulation, in which the system transforms itself toadapt and remain stable.At various periods in the past, a technical or technological innovation has contributed to theevolution of society. We have thus passed from the printing age to the energy age, and thence to 2
  • the digital age. Means of communication are also means of speeding up access to knowledge.Our communication tools (engraving, slate, print, television, computer, etc.) and our behaviorswhen faced with these tools have not only modified time and space, but also the culture ofsocieties. Each stage in the use of tools has modified the filters of our perception and theimagination of human beings.Social MediaSocial media is a form of electronic communication which facilitates interaction based on certaininterests and characteristics. Social media are media for social interaction, using highlyaccessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies totransform and broadcast media monologues into social dialogues. They support thedemocratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers tocontent producers. Social media are elements of the new media and according to Danny Shea inThe Huffington Post accessed 20th June 2010 have become the highest activity on the internet.The rapid growth of social media activities that has been observed over the last two to threeyears is indicative of its entry into mainstream culture and its integration into the daily lives ofmany people. In parallel with this, social media have also gained considerable attention from theacademic and business worlds. 3
  • History of Social Media"Social media isn’t really “new.” While it has only recently become part of mainstream cultureand the business world, people have been using digital media for networking, socializing andinformation gathering – almost exactly like now – for over 30 years:"-Sean Carton in his July 2009 blog posting: 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 socialinteraction. The most recognizable use of social media was through innovative application, anonline dialogue framework, created by Ward Christensen, a former IBM employee and RandySuess. Initially, they envisioned a place where they could immediately contact their co-employees for announcements, i.e. meetings, reports, and other affairs, rather than makingmultiple phone calls, distributing memos, and the like. They were looking into creating acomputerized bulletin board, which is why they named the program CBBS (ComputerizedBulletin Board System). Soon enough, more and more employees contributed their ideas andcomments in the said online community. That event was a momentous episode in the history ofcomputer and internet. It was the birth of online social networking.The CBBS platform was made known to other companies and has been used for specificpurposes. The Bulletin Board System expanded largely and began breaking into the mainstreammuch sooner than it was planned to. It was during the rise of the Internet Service Providers in theearly 1990s when social networking sites began to flourish. Along with the availability ofinternet service to people, many people rummaged to have themselves acquainted with this new 4
  • technology. With the fast response of people to the budding internet community, the bulletinboards which were usually used by companies have started to expand their roles by offering theirservice to more people around the globe. More and more people joined the online communitywith the innate goal of creating an identity in this space and at the same time exploring the vastplace that is the internet. Because of this, many internet-savvy companies gave what peoplewanted- getting to know more people and sharing common interests and points of view; that isthrough websites where they can socialize, websites which are now referred to as socialnetworking sites.Social media attained a great measure of success with the launch of the then very popularfriendster.com. Creator of Friendster, Jonathan Abrams concocted a perfect mix of popularfeatures from earlier social networking predecessors. Friendster became an instant success andgathered about three million members who signed up in its early months of launch.As years passed, Friendster reached an overwhelming hundred million users from all over theglobe. With much demand from its users, Friendster unfortunately got out of hand and sufferedfrom too many glitches in the server. Today, Friendster has been announced as a newly ownedentity of a Malaysian Company, and outshone by present social networking sites but still remainsto be patronized most especially in Asia.The conception of myspace.com opened the internet users to vast opportunities of self-expression which include wide control over a user’s profile content. Practically different peoplefrom all walks of life have dedicated pages in MySpace. In MySpace, users experienced the bestof creating unique identities to show to the online world. 5
  • MySpace remained as the uncontested favorite among all the social networking sites until 2005when it met its future competitor in the market. Soon enough, MySpace created additionalfeatures like mobile applications in order to keep up with the latest trends in the onlinecommunity; and at the same time be at par with the growing popularity of contemporary socialnetworking sites, more specifically the next thing in line.FacebookFacebook started as a local social network made for the students of Harvard. It was developed bya sophomore, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was actually made by hacking Harvard’s databasecontaining identification images of students. The initial idea was actually to compare the faces ofstudents with images of animals, for entertainment purposes. However, due to the potentiallydamaging contents of the site, the creators decided to put it down before it caught the attention ofschool authorities.The application was shut down, but the idea of creating an online community of students came toexistence. The platform was then improved and sooner than they expected, Facebook wasreleased in campuses other than Harvard. Thereafter, high schools were already starting to getattracted to the idea of having online communities, thus opening the website to the youngerpopulation. In 2006, facebook.com ultimately offered the opportunity to the rest of the world. As2007 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 apopulation of above 500 million active users. (facebook statistics, 2010) 6
  • Other social networking sites continued to appear in the scene. Blogging sites like Bebo,Multiply and many others came into view. Microblogging partnered with social networkingbecame popular with the launch of Twitter. On Twitter, online users can post their Tweets,basically a 140 character phrase or line about what they have in mind.With the help of API (Application Programming Interface), microblogging sites like Twitter andTumblr and other dedicated sites like Flickr, Photobucket and many others were able to connectwith popular social networking sites, making an unending link of information in the World WideWeb.How Social Media Work/CharacteristicsSocial media utilization is believed to be a driving force in defining the current period as whatpsychologists call the “Attention Age”. A common thread running through all definitions ofsocial media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value. Onecharacteristic shared by both social media and industrial media is the capability to reach small orlarge audiences; for example, either a blog post or a television show may reach zero people ormillions of people. The properties that help describe the differences between social media andindustrial media depend on the study. Some of these properties are: 1. Reach - both industrial and social media technologies provide scale and enable anyone to reach a global audience. 2. Accessibility - the means of production for industrial media are typically owned privately or by government; social media tools are generally available to anyone at little or no cost. 7
  • 3. Usability - industrial media production typically requires specialized skills and training. Most social media does not, or in some cases reinvent skills, so anyone can operate the means of production. 4. Response time - the time lag between communications produced by industrial media can be long (days, weeks, or even months) compared to social media (which is capable of virtually instantaneous responses; only the participants determine any delay in response). As industrial media are currently adopting social media tools, this feature may well not be distinctive anymore in some time. 5. Permanence - industrial media, once created, cannot be altered (once a magazine article is printed and distributed changes cannot be made to that same article) whereas social media can be altered almost instantaneously by comments or editing.Community media constitute an interesting hybrid of industrial and social media. Thoughcommunity-owned, some community radios, TV and newspapers are run by professionals andsome by amateurs. They use both social and industrial media frameworks.In his 2006 book The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets andFreedom, Yochai Benkler analyzed many of these distinctions and their implications in terms ofboth economics and political liberty. However, Benkler, like many academics, uses theneologism network economy or "network information economy" to describe the underlyingeconomic, social, and technological characteristics of what has come to be known as "socialmedia".Andrew Keen criticizes social media in his book The Cult of the Amateur, writing, "Out of thisanarchy, it suddenly became clear that what was governing the infinite monkeys now inputting 8
  • away on the Internet was the law of digital Darwinism, the survival of the loudest and mostopinionated. Under these rules, the only way to intellectually prevail is by infinite filibustering.”Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs,microblogging, wikis, podcasts, pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. By applying aset of theories in the field of media research (social presence, media richness) and socialprocesses (self-presentation, self-disclosure) Kaplan and Haenlein created a classificationscheme for different social media types in their Business Horizons article published in 2010.According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media: Collaborativeprojects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual gameworlds, and virtual social worlds. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name afew. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregationplatforms.Examples of social media based on their characteristics include:Communication • Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, Open Diary, TypePad, WordPress, Vox, ExpressionEngine, Xanga • Micro-blogging / Presence applications: FMyLife, Jaiku, Plurk, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Yammer, Qaiku • Social networking: Facebook, MySpace, Cyworld • Events: Upcoming, Eventful, Meetup.com, 9
  • Collaboration • Wikis: Wikimedia, Wikia, PBworks, Wetpaint • Social bookmarking (or social tagging): Delicious, StumbleUpon, Google Reader, CiteULike • Social news: Digg, Mixx, Reddit, NowPublicMultimedia • Photography and art sharing: Deviantart, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, SmugMug, Zooomr • Video sharing: YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, sevenload • Livecasting: Ustream.tv, Justin.tv, Stickam, Skype, OpenCU, Livestream • Music and audio sharing: MySpace Music, The Hype Machine, Last.fm, ccMixter, ShareTheMusic, ReverbNation • Presentation sharing: scribdReviews and opinions • Product reviews: epinions.com, MouthShut.com • Business reviews: Customer Lobby, yelp.com • Community Q&A: Yahoo! Answers, WikiAnswers, Askville, Google AnswersEntertainment • Media and entertainment platforms: Cisco Eos • Virtual worlds: [Active Worlds], Second Life, The Sims Online, Forterra 10
  • • Game sharing: Miniclip, KongregateBrand monitoring • Social media monitoring: Attensity Voice of the Customer, Attensity360, Sysomos Heartbeat • Social media analytics: Sysomos MAPOther • Information Aggregators: Netvibes, Twine (website) • Online Advocacy and Fundraising: CausesBenefits and ConcernsSocial media, although not used by everybody, have been noted for some benefits. This isespecially in the business field where the use has been seen as an affordable marketing tool. Thelevel of social interaction might also suggest that social media contributes much to thesocialization process by giving access to customers, old friends, new friends and relatives.Various forms of social media have been used as learning tools in some institutions and haveproven to be of good use in assisting teaching techniques. Social media have also been used asvehicles for political and humanitarian causes where the progression in interaction aids therecruitment of supporters for a certain cause. However, these benefits do not erase the fearsassociated with the usage of these forms of media. These fears range from privacy issues to the 11
  • fear that social media can be addictive, thereby eliminating interpersonal communication in itsmost original form.The Nigerian Youth and FacebookThe latest Facebook demographic data, as of July 3, 2010, indicates that there are about onemillion, seven hundred and eighteen thousand Nigerians on Facebook (less Diaspora).It isamong the top three most visited sites by Nigerians and the most popular agedemographic globally is 35-49." According to the BBC programme "Superpower", the Nigerianinternet population stood at about twenty four million people in 2008, information sourced fromthe International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This data places Nigeria as Africa’s biggestinternet market (audience) dwarfing South Africa and Egypt. The internet offers a great platformto reach millions of Nigerians with amazing targeting possibilities including age, gender, interestand behavioral targeting. Despite the erratic power supply and expensive internet access,Nigerian users on facebook .com, increased from 99,720 in 2008 to 569,180 in 2009, beforegrowing to the present number. This growth rate suggests that there exists some form of value ormeaning derived by the users, most of them youths.Socialization & CommunicationSocialization is the process by which children and adults learn from others. Weidman, Twale andStein (2001) define socialization in a broad sense as “the process by which persons acquire theknowledge, skills and disposition that make them more or less effective members of the society”.People begin learning from others during the early days of life; and most people continue their 12
  • social learning all through life (unless some mental or physical disability slows or stops thelearning process). (John Weidman, Darla Twale & Elizabeth Stein, 2001).John Baldwin and Janice Baldwin in the book, behavior principles in everyday life say naturalsocialization occurs when infants and youngsters explore, play and discover the social worldaround them. Planned socialization occurs when other people take actions designed to teach ortrain others -- from infancy on. Natural socialization is easily seen when looking at the young ofalmost any mammalian species (and some birds). Planned socialization is mostly a humanphenomenon; and all through history, people have been making plans for teaching or trainingothers. Both natural and planned socialization can have good and bad features: It is wise to learnthe best features of both natural and planned socialization and weave them into our lives. The authors also define positive socialization as the type of social learning that is based onpleasurable and exciting experiences. “We tend to like the people who fill our social learningprocesses with positive motivation, loving care, and rewarding opportunities. Negativesocialization occurs when others use punishment, harsh criticisms or anger to try to "teach us alesson;" and often we come to dislike both negative socialization and the people who impose iton us.”“There are all types of mixes of positive and negative socialization; and the more positive sociallearning experiences we have, the happier we tend to be -- especially if we learn usefulinformation that helps us cope well with the challenges of life. A high ratio of negative topositive socialization can make a person unhappy, defeated or pessimistic about life. Thesocialization type can also have an effect, in turn, on the person’s ability to fit into the societyand perform optimally as a member of the society. Socialization also plays a significant role in 13
  • the development of our lives, personally and professionally, generally as citizens.” (John DBaldwin, Janice I Baldwin, 2000)Technology and CommunicationNew technologies can lead to new types of media and the ability to use a given form of media isrelated to the ability to use its related technology. Throughout history, developments intechnology and communications have gone hand-in-hand, and the latest technologicaldevelopments such as the internet have resulted in the advancement of the science ofcommunication to a new level. The process of human communication has evolved over the years,with many path-breaking inventions and discoveries heralding revolutions or a lift from one levelto another. 1. The invention of pictographs or the first written communication in the ancient world heralded written communication. These writings were on stone, and remained immobile. 2. The invention of paper, papyrus, and wax, culminating in the invention of the printing press in the 15th century made possible transfer of documents from one place to another, allowing for uniformity of languages over long distances. 3. The latest revolution is the widespread application of electronic technology such as electronic waves and signals to communication, manifesting in the electronic creation and transfer of documents over the World Wide Web. 14
  • Speed and Costs of CommunicationThe most significant impact of technology on communication is the spread of the internet and thepossibility of sending emails and chatting. In the pre-information technology days, a documentoften required re-typing on the typewriter before the final version. Sending the letter across tosomeone else required a visit to the post office and a postage stamp. Faster methods such astelegrams had severe limitations in text, and remained costly.Computers and the internet have made easy the process of creating and editing documents andapplying features such as spell check and grammar check automatically. Email allows sendingthe document to any part of the globe within seconds, making telegrams, and even ordinaryletters mostly obsolete. The internet has thus increased the speed of communications manifold,and reduced the costs drastically.Quality of CommunicationThe huge amount of knowledge accessible by a click of the mouse has helped improve thequality of communication. Translating a text from an unfamiliar language to a familiar language,seeking out the meaning of an unknown word, and getting follow up information on anunfamiliar concept are all possible thanks to the internet.Technology allows easy storage and retrieval of communication when needed, especially verbalcommunication, the storage of which was very difficult before. It now becomes easier to rewindand clear misconceptions rather than make assumptions, or contacting the person again to cleardoubt. 15
  • Change in Communication StyleThe invention of new gadgets such as mobile phones makes communication easier by allowingpeople to communicate from anywhere. An underestimated impact of mobile gadgets is theirimpact on the nature of communications. The nature of such impact includes the following: • The possibility of high quality communication from anywhere in the world to anywhere else at low costs has led to a marked decline in face-to-face communications and to an increased reliance on verbal and written communication over electronic mediums. • The small keyboards in mobile phone and other hand held devices that make typing difficult has resulted in a radical shortening of words and increasing use of symbol and shortcuts, with little or no adherence to traditional grammatical rules. Such change now finds increasing acceptance in the business community. • Communication has become concise and short, and the adage “brevity is the soul of wit” finds widespread implementation, though unintentionally.Accessibility to CommunicationThe role of technology in the democratization of communication systems is one important waythat technology has changed communication. Technology has brought down the costs ofcommunication significantly and improved people’s access to communication. The proliferationof online forums, live coverage of news, and other such media related initiatives have resulted inworld wide access and participation in news and information for almost everyone. 16
  • In the realm of business, access to communication or privileged information was hitherto a majorsource of competitive advantage. Technology helps remove such barriers and ensure a levelplaying field in this aspect for the most part.Nature of CommunicationThe ease of communication and the spread of interactive communication methods such as instantmessengers and video conferencing has increased the volume of communications, but reducedthe average length of communications. People now communicate whatever comes up instantly,and tend to break up different topics into different communications.Finally, technologies such as the internet help spread the net of communication by tracking downold friends, shedding light on new business opportunities, and the like.History of Research on Social MediaSocial media research has been a topic of interest in business and academic circles. Thedimensions that have been observed depend on the type of social media to the location where theresearch is being carried out. Issues that have been researched into include:Privacy 17
  • A number of social media platforms require the submission of personal information. Many reports indicate that the majority of social media users post risky information online, without giving due diligence to privacy and security concerns. At the same time, cyber criminals are targeting social network sites with increasing amounts of malware and online scams, honing in on this growing user base. According to Consumer Reports 2010 State of the Net analysis more than half of social network users share private information about themselves online, opening themselves up to a variety of online dangers. This research was carried out online across users around the world.The key findings of the report include the following:• 25 percent of households with a Facebook account dont use the sites privacy controls or werent aware of them.• 40 percent of social network users posted their full date of birth online, opening themselves up to identity theft.• 9 percent of social network users dealt with a form of abuse within the past year (e.g., malware, online scams, identity theft or harassment). (Consumer Report, 2010) Business An online survey was conducted September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation among 1,092 adults in America. According to the survey, 59 percent of American consumers who use social media sites and tools are already interacting with businesses through social 18
  • media. Much of the researches in this area are based on the interface between social media andbusiness processes.WorkplaceThere has been some research into how social media affects internal corporate communicationand improve organizational culture.CommunityThe feeling of community and social interaction forms society and much research is beingcarried out to analyze the possibility of any threat to the stability of the society. Such researchstems from the concern that electronic communication erodes the value of normal face to facecommunication. Most of these researches also observe for attitudinal changes in the users ofthese forms of media.Politics and Active CitizenshipThe use of social media by the presidential campaign team in the 2008 United States of Americahas aroused interest and many scholars have studied this case and the possibilities within the useof social media in politics and governance. 19
  • Self identity and Self EsteemThe concept of an online identity has raised many questions as to the possibility of a false senseof self among the users of these media. Researches in America and other parts of the world havealso questioned the similarities or disparity between the online and offline identities.EducationThe high level of usage of social media was perceived as a distraction and as a result a deterrentfrom satisfactory academic performance. Research looks into how social media and educationcan co-exist and be beneficial to the users, especially young people. Some researchers have alsolooked into the relationship between the usage of social media and the grades of the users inschool.1.2 ObjectivesThe purpose of this report is therefore to provide evidence-based insights into the social mediaphenomenon which can be used to inform current understanding of usage and behaviour inNigeria, and to help identify some of the current and potential future issues around people’s useof social media. It seeks to understand how people are using social networking sites as well astheir attitudes to this form of communication.The objectives of this report are as follows: • To understand the use of social media by young people in Nigeria. • To understand the attitudes towards social networking sites and the wider issues that may arise from this. 20
  • • To explore any effect of this form of media on the social skills of the Nigerian youth1.3 SignificanceFundamentally, the media is a tool and its uses are a reflection of the people who use it. Sounderstanding the media itself and its dynamics will help in using it and in mitigating itsdownsides. The rapid growth of social media sites, their popularity among young people andtheir relative success in retaining users, has ensured that social media is never far from thenews. It is clear from the development of social media to date that further evolution is unchartedterritory for stakeholders and it is difficult to accurately predict what impact this will have oncommunications, ICT skills and social issues. As users, policy makers, businesses, educators andparents seek to understand many-to-many communication such as social media, it is essential weunderstand current usage and behaviour and identify potential problems so that they can beaddressed.This can be seen in the amount of academic studies on social media within the lastseven years. However, Danah Boyd has gathered a collection of research about socialnetworking sites that lists approximately one hundred and fifty research papers, three books,and seven research reports published in theyears 2003-2010. (Boyd, 2010) None of these paperscovers Africa.This shows a lack of research that concerns the African region and especiallyNigeria where this form of media is greatly used. Therefore the overall motivation forconducting this study is to contribute to research about social media in Nigeria. This researchshould also create a platform for further research in this field and how it affects businessprocesses as well other spheres of life. This research should provide useful data for marketresearchers, marketing and product development professionals as well as educators as to howthey can maximize social media for optimum benefit in their various fields. 21
  • 1.4 Statement of the ProblemIt is recorded that at least one million, seven hundred and fourteen Nigerians are on Facebook,with a good number of them being young. (Facebook statistics, 2010) However, there is nocomprehensive knowledge of their activities as well as how this form of media can impact onvarious aspects of lifeThis thesis examines the relationship between social media and its usage by Nigerian youths.The study specifically focuses on the usage habits of young Nigerians and how social media hasaffected their communication and socialization habits.The future of communication has been predicted to depend to a great degree on electronicmodes. Academics, business men and professionals in various fields propose various uses ofsocial media and new media generally. These and many more decisions will be made based onlyon available data concerning these media.1.5 Research Questions • How much time do youths spend on Facebook? • What are the reasons youths use Facebook in Nigeria? • What activities do youths engage in on Facebook? • What benefits do youths derive from Facebook? 22
  • • What is the impact of Facebook on the lives of young people in Nigeria?1.6 Operational Definition of TermsFor the purpose of this research report we have purposely focused on the social andcommunications aspects of social networking sites. We have deliberately not included eitheronline networks dedicated to business networking, or only user-generated content (UGC) sites(as the latter’s primary focus is on content creation and sharing rather than the developmentof online social networks).Social Media: A group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological andtechnological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generatedcontent. (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010)Social Skills: Any skills facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules andrelations are created, communicated and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways through aprocess called socialization.Cyberspace: This is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which onlinecommunication takes place.Web 2.0: web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the world- wide web.Blogs: A blog (a contraction of the term "web log") is a type of website, usually maintained byan individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material suchas graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. 23
  • Vlogs: Video blogging, sometimes shortened to vlogging or vidblogging is a form of bloggingfor which the medium is video, and is a form of Internet television. Entries often combineembedded video or a video link with supporting text, images, and other metadata.Instant Messaging: Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time direct text-basedcommunication between two or more people using shared clients. The text is conveyed viadevices connected over a network such as the Internet.Music-sharing: File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digitally storedinformation, such as computer programs, multi-media (audio, video), documents, or electronicbooks. It may be implemented in a variety of storage, transmission, and distribution models.Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing is a compound of Crowd and Outsourcing for the act of takingtasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group ofpeople or community, through an "open call" to a large group of people (a crowd) asking forcontributions.Voice Over IP: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a general term for a family oftransmission technologies for delivery of voice communications over IP networks such as theInternet or other packet-switched networks.Profiles:Microblogging: Microblogging is a form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blogin that its content is typically much smaller, in both actual size and aggregate file size. Amicroblog entry could consist of nothing but a short sentence fragment, or an image or embeddedvideo. 24
  • 1.7 Scope of the studyThis investigation focused specifically on the usage habits of users of facebook.com in Nigeria 25
  • CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEWMost social scientists define our current society as a mass society and believe it was formed atthe end of the 19th century mainly by industrialization, urbanization and modernization. Themedias role in this society is fundamentally a function of how this society chooses to use themedia. Furthermore, the medias relationship with this society is both reflexive—the mass mediasimultaneously affects and is affected by mass society—and varied.2.1 Theoretical LiteratureIn psychology, communication theory and sociology, media influence or media effects refers tothe theories about the ways the mass media affect how their audiences think and behave.Mass media plays a crucial role in forming and reflecting public opinion, connecting the world toindividuals and reproducing the self-image of society. Critiques in the early-to-mid twentiethcentury suggested that media weaken or delimit the individuals capacity to act autonomously —sometimes being ascribed an influence reminiscent of the telescreens of the dystopiannovel 1984. Mid 20th-century empirical studies, however, suggested more moderate effects ofthe media. Current scholarship presents a more complex interaction between the mediaand society, with the media on generating information from a network of relations and influencesand with the individual interpretations and evaluations of the information provided, as well asgenerating information outside of media contexts. The consequences and ramifications of themass media relate not merely to the way newsworthy events are perceived (and which arereported at all), but also to a multitude of cultural influences that operate through the media. 26
  • The media have a strong social and cultural impact upon society. This is predicated upon theirability to reach a wide audience with a strong and influential message. Marshall McLuhan usesthe phrase “the medium is the message” as a means of explaining how the distribution of amessage can often be more important than content of the message itself. It is through thepersuasiveness of media such as television, radio and print media that messages reach their targetaudiences. These have been influential media as they have been largely responsible forstructuring peoples daily lives and routines. Television broadcasting has a large amount ofcontrol over the content society watches and the times in which it is viewed. This is adistinguishing feature of traditional media which new media have challenged by altering theparticipation habits of the public. The internet creates a space for more diverse political opinions,social and cultural viewpoints and a heightened level of consumer participation. There have beensuggestions that allowing consumers to produce information through the internet will lead to anoverload of information.A theory which places emphasis on audience reception, which is a major feature of the newmedia is Denis McQuails Uses and Gratifications model. This places emphasis on the variousreasons for which audiences consume media. The first reason outlined in the model is the needto reinforce one’s own behavior by identifying with roles, values and gender identities presentedin the media. Secondly, consumers need to feel some kind of interaction with other people whichis offered by text such as a soap opera or a lifestyle magazine. The third reason is the need forsecurity. Media offer a window to the world that allows education and the acquisitionof information. The final reason is the need for entertainment through both escapism, and theneed for emotional release, such as laughter. One major strength of the Uses and Gratificationstheory is the emphasis on the audience as active in the reception of media. However, this would 27
  • suggest no passivity within the audience whatsoever. A person may, for example, be too lazy toturn off their television and as a result consume any media that is available, regardless of need.But in the case of social networking, a person deliberately registers his or identity with the socialnetworking site, logs in when he/she decides to, and engages in activities he/she chooses to.Historical criticisms situate the meta-narrative of effects theory within a long history of distrustof new forms of media, dating as far back as Socrates’ objections to the deleterious effects due tothe written alphabet.Supporters of effects theory contend that commercials, advertising and voter campaigns provethat media influence behavior. In the 20th century, aggressive media attention and negativecoverage of trials involving celebrities like Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle or Michael Jackson (in the21st) have influenced the general publics opinion, before the trials effectively started. However,these critics do point out that while the media could have an effect on peoples behavior this isntnecessarily always the case.Theorists such as Louis Wirth and Talcott Parsons have emphasized the importance of massmedia as instruments of social control. In the twenty-first century, with the rise of the internet,the two-way relationship between mass media and public opinion is beginning to change, withthe advent of new technologies such as blogging.Social scientists have made efforts to integrate the study of the mass media as an instrument ofcontrol into the study of political and economic developments in the Afro-Asian countries.Daniel Lerner (1958) has emphasized the general pattern of increase in standard of living,urbanization, literacy and exposure to mass media during the transition from traditional tomodern society. According to Lerner, while there is a heavy emphasis on the expansion of mass 28
  • media in developing societies, the penetration of a central authority into the daily consciousnessof the mass has to overcome profound resistance. (Lerner, 1958) (Katz, Mass communicationresearch and the study of culture, 1959)The Uses and Gratifications Theory (a limited effects theory) is a popular approach tounderstanding mass communication. The theory places more focus on the consumer, or audience,instead of the actual message itself by asking “what people do with media” rather than “whatmedia does to people” (Katz, 1959). It assumes members of the audience are not passive but takean active role in interpreting and integrating media into their own lives. The theory also holdsaudiences responsible for choosing media to meet its needs. The approach suggests that peopleuse the media to fulfill specific gratifications. This theory would then imply that the mediacompete against other information sources for the viewer’s gratification. (Katz, E., Blumler, J.G., & Gurevitch, M. 1974).Blumler and Katz’s take a non-prescriptive and non-predictive perspective on media effects.They postulate that individuals mix and match uses with goals, according to specific context,needs, social backgrounds and so on. Thus, they are seen as active participants in the mediaconsumption process. Uses and gratification theory suggests that media users play an active rolein choosing and using the media. Users take an active part in the communication process and aregoal oriented in their media use. The theorists say that a media user seeks out a media sourcethat best fulfills the needs of the user. Uses and gratifications assume that the user has alternatechoices to satisfy their need.Interest in the gratifications provided by media goes back to the beginning of empirical masscommunication research. The last few years have witnessed something of a revival of direct 29
  • empirical investigations of audience uses and gratifications, not only in the United States but alsoin Britain, Sweden, Finland, Japan and Israel. These more recent studies have a number ofdiffering starting points, but each attempts to press toward a greater systematization of what isinvolved in conducting research in this field. Each major piece of uses and gratifications researchhas yielded its own classification scheme of audience functions. When placed side by side, theyreveal a mixture of shared gratification categories and notions peculiar to individual researchteams. The differences are due in part to the fact that investigators have focused on differentlevels of study (e.g., medium or content) and different materials (e.g., different programs orprogram types on television) in different cultures. Instead of depicting the media as severelycircumscribed by audience expectations, the uses and gratifications approach highlights theaudience as a source of challenge to producers to cater more richly to the multiplicity ofrequirements and roles that it has disclosed.The uses and gratifications research (Herzog 1944; McGuire 1974) has been useful inunderstanding consumers motivations and concerns in the context of traditional media such asradio and TV. However, only a few researchers have explored uses and gratificationsapplications in the Internet context (Chen and Wells 1999; Eighmey and McCord 1998;Korgaonkar and Wolin 1999). For example, Eighmey and McCord (1998) noted that researchparticipants who browsed five commercial websites show uses and gratifications behaviorssimilar to those reported in studies of traditional media such as TV. 30
  • New Media TheoryThe New Media Theory investigates both media and new media as a complex ecological andrhetorical context. The merger of media and new media creates a global social sphere that ischanging the ways we work, play, write, teach, think, and connect. Because this new contextoperates through evolving arrangements, theories of new media have yet to establish a rhetoricaland theoretical paradigm that fully articulates this emerging digital life.Social Media and The Uses and Gratification TheoryRecent research explaining Internet usage has both extended and challenged the uses andgratifications approach to understanding media attendance by discovering “new” gratificationsand introducing powerful new explanatory variables. The present research integrates thesedevelopments into a theory of media attendance within the framework of Bandura’s (1986)Social Cognitive Theory. Respondents from 2 Midwestern states in the United States of Americawere recruited by mail to complete an online questionnaire. Structural equation modelingtechniques were used to test a new model of media attendance in which active consideration ofInternet use and gratifications, moderated by Internet self-efficacy, joins habitual behavior anddeficient self-regulation as determinants of media behavior. The model explained 42% of thevariance in Internet usage.Of the many theories that aim to explain how mass media impact society, it might be difficult tovalidate many of them today, when mass media is slowly metamorphosizing into social media.Or, in other words, if there has been a shift from one-to-many, to many-to-many communication 31
  • systems, it is worth finding out if the theories that explained the former, such as mediadependency, agenda setting, or knowledge gap, are still applicable to the latter.2.2 Empirical LiteratureSocial Network for SocializationMost research regarding potential internet-related harm relates to risky contact rather thancontent, primarily that involving interaction with other internet users. Indeed, this updatefound a number of studies that addressed the risk of inappropriate contact (e.g. bullying - forwhich more research exists than for the first review, and also online contact with strangers).The research suggests that such contact may put users at risk of harm, either directly (as inmeeting strangers in dangerous situations) or indirectly, from the consequences of theironline behaviour.Research on social networking sites has concentrated on the internet, although these arealso available on mobile telephony as a delivery platform. There are differences in theprincipal sites used – in the UK, Bebo (and then MySpace) is currently more popular while inthe US much of the research has looked at Facebook, among others, partly because ofrelative popularity, partly because US research tends to concentrate on university students(who use Facebook). Research on the risk of harm has concentrated on social networkingsites (raising issues of privacy) rather than information uploaded onto user-generatedcontent sites. For social networking especially, the issue of verifiability and anonymity is aproblem. A significant proportion of young people communicate with strangers online andpost material about themselves which would be considered ‘private’ in most circumstances.The ability to restrict access to sites is known about but not always used. Thus, knowingly,some young people give away inappropriate (private) information publicly (allowing access 32
  • to ‘anyone’). However, it seems likely that many more also do so inadvertently, as a result oflimitations in both internet literacy and interface design. This leads to concerns about thepossibility of underestimating the unanticipated or future consequences of making privateinformation public, especially since it appears that many young people have an inadequateunderstanding of the long-term consequences of publishing such information (e.g. employers arereported to look at social networking sites when considering employees) The risk ofinappropriate contact (especially in relation to sexual predation), harassment and bullying(including the easy dissemination of harassment or bullying content to others in the network)represent significant and growing policy concerns when considering the regulation of theinternet.Research suggests that young people may be aware of the risks, especially regarding socialnetworking sites, but the awareness of these issues and problems is not always translated intoaction. Thus there is growing evidence that, notwithstanding their many advantages andpleasures, social networking sites permit young people to create profiles that expose theindividual or that ridicule or harass others, that using such sites for extensive periods of time (asis common) may isolate users of these sites from contact with ‘real’ people, albeit only for a few,addicted users.The Pew Internet survey finds that most young people in the world (91%) use social networkingsites to stay in touch with their circle of friends; 82% say they stay in touch with their widercircle. Hargittai (2007) suggests that the choice of social networking site used may increase bothdigital and social inequality. Digital inequality is a consideration as those who do not have accessto the Internet at a friend’s or family members’ home are far les likely to use such sites. 33
  • Further, Hargittai finds that high and low social status users in the US cluster together aroundcertain sites. Hinduja and Patchin (2008) undertook a content analysis of publicly available, butrandomised, MySpace profile pages (N=2423) produced by those under 18 years old. On averagethey found that teenage users of the profiles they surveyed have 65 friends. They also examinedfrequency of visiting the sites and found that about one-third of users had not logged on in thethree months prior to the coding period. Over a third (38%) had logged on in the previous threedays. The researchers question therefore the suggested high frequency of use of these sites as astaple for young people. Hinduja and Patchin also find that a certain percentage of users, about40%, restrict access to their site.Mesch and Talmud (2007) in Israel found that relationships developed offline are strongerthan those created online, again supporting the view that offline interactions are not seen byrespondents as replacements for actual relationships and friendships. Other research alsosuggests that these technologies are used to enable social relationships – and the entire variety ofdevices available is used. Similarly, Ellison , Steinfield and Lampe (2007) show that socialnetworking sites in the US are used to develop social relationships and may be a positive forcefrom those who otherwise have weak ties with people on the site they used (in this case the sitestudied was Facebook).As this report is concerned mainly with the effect of this act on the social attitudes of the youthsin Nigeria, this is an important area which underlines the finding that users of social networkingsites tend to communicate and interact predominantly with those within their social circle,although the radius of that circle is rather wider than it might be in an offline world. In short,social networking sites have a definite place in the lexicon of social interaction by providing 34
  • insights into, for example, one’s own identity through the actual presentation of self and throughthe way in which the network of relationships (of which such sites are one node) is developed:Livingstone finds that teenagers present themselves in different ways, based on their ages.Younger participants present ‘a highly decorated, stylistically elaborate identity’ while olderparticipants aim to create ‘a notion of identity lived through authentic relationships withothers’ (Livingstone, 2007). The creation of these identities, she argues, contains an elementof risk which public policy may try and manage.Boyd and Heer (2006) also conducted ethnographic studies on the profile segment of thesocial networking sites, Friendster. They found that the presentation of one’s self is determinedand given structure by the identities of those with whom one is connected. The previouslymentioned issues of verifiability and anonymity are studied by Boyd (2004).She describes the growth of ‘Fakester’, a false set of ‘friends’ collected on Friendster sites,which grew out of frustrations with the site’s technological difficulties. As a result it is oftenunclear who is and is not ‘real’ on Friendster, Boyd argues, which can lead to confusion (atits mildest).The value of social networking sites is clear, both as an entertainment tool but also as a wayof creating and giving one self identity. Importantly the identities and profiles presented aregenerally constrained by social expectations. However, teenagers will continue also topractice some risk taking activities to push normative boundaries, something that is oftenpublicly performed rather than secret, as part of the process of identity construction. Moreover,even when the potential misuse of social rules or norms is quite well-understood, it is not alwaysacted upon. 35
  • Boyd (2006) found that teenagers in the US are aware of adults on their sites, but that they ignorethem. Their attention is taken by those whom they ‘know’ and for whom they aretrying to make an impression: Having to simultaneously negotiate youth culture and adultsurveillance is not desirable to most youths, but their response is typically to ignore the issue. Sothese teenagers may post pictures of themselves scantily clad or drunk, but these are imagesdesigned for their peers, not for the adults who may happen upon them. These subjects inthe research are not able to fast-forward to the possible regrets they may have about theseimages at a later date, as – Boyd suggests – adults might.In a study looking at video blogging, Ellison et al(2007) notes that women who share levels ofintimacy through their video blogs feel they are connecting with other people and with otherpeople’s ideas.The video blogs allow communities to be formed and for experiences to beshared.The research evidence shows that social networking sites are used widely and are used tosupport and maintain existing relationships, not to create new ones. However, a proportion ofyoung people communicate with strangers online and post material about themselves which maybe considered ‘private’ in most circumstances. The ability to restrict access to sites is knownabout but not always used. However, this conclusion cannot be universal for many users of socialmedia because it would imply that users of social networking sites who have no friends offlinetend to have few friends online as well, thereby limiting the socialization benefits. This can onlybe proven if the researcher has undertaken a study where he monitored the socialization habits ofthe users both offline and online and compared both. It is however not easy to monitor thenumber of friends particularly and the nature of the relationship. 36
  • Some authors tend to argue that the web and software are always social because theyincorporate certain meanings and understandings of society (Dourish 2001, Rost 1997). Theirunderstanding of the social can be seen as close to Durkheim’s notion of social facts , by whichhe means“every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exerting on the individual an externalconstraint; or which is general over the whole of a given society whilst having an existence of itsown, independent of its individual manifestation”(Durkheim 1982: 59). This is a solid argumentwhich will be backed up with evidence from various other researches which prove therepresentation of reality on social media. This would encompass the various social and also antisocial activities, behaviors and attitudes which reflect life in reality.A second group of authors argues that the web and software are only social if they supportsymbolic interaction (Boyd 2005, 2007a; Pascu et al. 2007, Shirky 2003). A third group ofauthors sees social software and web 2.0 as tools that support community-building and online co-operation (Alby 2007, Burg 2003, Fischer 2006, Gillmor 2006, Miller 2005, O’Reilly 2005a, b;Saveri/Rheingold/Vian 2005, Stefanac 2007, Swisher 2007, Kolbitsch/Maurer 2006,Tapscott/Williams 2006). These approaches can be connected on the one hand toFerdinandTönnies’ concept of community, by which he understands the “consciousness ofbelonging together and the affirmation of the condition of mutual dependence” (Tönnies 1988:69), and on the other hand to Karl Marx’s concept of co-operation “By social we understand theco-operation of several individuals, no matter under what conditions, in what manner and to whatend. It follows from this that a certain mode of production, or industrial stage, is alwayscombined with a certain mode of co-operation, or social stage, and this mode of co-operation isitself a ‘productive force’(MEW 3: 50). 37
  • These theoretical understandings of the social that underlie definitions of web 2.0 and socialsoftware are implicit, a theory of web 2.0 and social software is missing and can beaccomplished by dialectically synthesizing the three understandings of the social and applying itto the web (Fuchs 2009, Fuchs, Hofkirchner, Schafranek, Raffl, Sandoval & Bichler 2008).Second, there is an analogous relationship between the three forms in which informationprocesses occur in society: cognition, communication, and co-operation processes. Theseprocesses relate to each other in a way that reflects and resembles the build-up of a complexsystem. One is the prerequisite for the other in the following way: in order to co-operate youneed to communicate and in order to communicate you need to cognise.Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social network sites as “web-based services that allowindividuals 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 theirlist of connections and those made by others within the system”. Boyd’s and Ellison’s definitionclearly focuses on platforms such as Facebook. In network analysis, a network is defined as asystem of interconnected nodes (cp. e.g. Wasserman/Faust 1997).Therefore, based on a stricttheoretical understanding, all networked tools that allow establishing connections between atleast two humans, have to be understood as social network platform. This includes not only theplatforms that Boyd and Ellison have in mind, but also chats, discussion boards, mailing lists,email, etc – all web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies. Social network site is therefore an imprecise term.Such imprecision can arise from a lack of social theory foundations in social media research:Definitions are given without giving grounds to them. 38
  • David Beer (2008: 519) argues that the definition by Boyd and Ellison is too broad and does notdistinguish different types of sites such as wikis, folksonomies, mashups, and social networkingsites.A certain category of approaches conclude that social media are dangerous and pose primarilythreats for the users, especially young people. One can also characterize this approach asvictimization discourse. Such research concludes that social media pose threats that make userspotential victims of individual criminals, such as in the case of cyberstalking, sexual harassment,threats by mentally ill persons, data theft, data fraud, etc. Frequently these studies also argue thatthe problem is a lack of individual responsibility and knowledge so that users put themselves atrisk by putting too much private information online and by not making use of privacymechanisms, for example by making their profile visible for all other users. Two papers writtenby Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross represent the ideal type of this kind of research.Acquisti and Gross conducted an online survey of social users at Carnegie Mellon University(N=294, Acquist/Gross 2006) and data mining of 7000 social media profiles(Gross/Acquisti/Heinz 2005). Privacy policy was considered as a very important issue (averageof 5.411 points on a Likert-scale of 7). Users also showed a high concern about the misuse ofpersonal information. The scholars did not find a direct relationship between the intensity ofprivacy concerns and the likelihood of becoming a Facebook member.Users with higher privacyconcerns would be less likely to join Internet Storage Name Service, but not in the case ofundergraduates.“Privacy concerns may drive older and senior college members away from Facebook. Even highprivacy concerns, however, are not driving undergraduate students away from it. Non-members 39
  • have higher generic privacy concerns than Facebook members“ (Acquisti and Gross 2006: 47).Those users who join the network would not be more likely to exclude personal informationfrom visibility if they have high privacy concerns. “We detected little or no relation betweenparticipants’ reported privacy attitudes and their likelihood of providing certain information,even when controlling, separately, for male and female members“(Acquisti and Gross 2006: 50).This research seemed not to have found any benefits associated with the use of social media.David Beer (2008b) argues that the research agenda outlined by Boyd and Ellison (2007) is toomuch focused on the user and excludes macro-contexts. “By focusing solely upon the user,which is what Boyd and Ellisons closing section on future research suggests, we areoverlooking the software and concrete infrastructures, the capitalist organisations, the marketingand advertising rhetoric, the construction of these phenomena in various rhetorical agendas, therole of designers, metadata and algorithms, the role, access and conduct of third parties usingsocial media, amongst many other things. Capitalism is there, present, particularly in the history,but it is at risk of looming as a black box in understandings of social media This is what ismissing, a more political agenda that is more open to the workings of capitalism. At the momentwe are informed largely by accounts of these spaces where we can connect, spaces that are hostto new or remediated social connections, spaces that are democratic and mutually owned –thedirection Boyd and Ellison intimate and their focus which is solely upon the user looks toperpetuate this agenda even if unintentionally, at least, in my reading, that is the risk. My feelingis that the dominant visions of the democratization of the web toward a model of ‘collaborative’or ‘collective intelligence’ needs to be questioned with some rigour” (Beer 2008b: 523-526). 40
  • In short, Beer’s critique of Boyd and Ellison is that the approach is individualistic, too optimistic,and ignoring that social media are embedded into capitalism and are primarily corporations withcapitalist interests. Beer, however, in his critique has put so much power into the software,hardware and third parties, ignoring the fact that there can be no social network without a user.Another survey (N=1440, Lampe, Ellison and Steinfield 2006a) at Michigan State Universityshowed that students have high confidence that their profiles describe them accurately(mean=4.16 of 5). There was high agreement to the statement that one engages in keeping intouch with old friends and checking out the Facebook profiles of people one has met in person.“Given these indicators, we find support for the idea that Facebook members are using the site toengage in social searches, i.e. find out more about people in their offline communities. Socialbrowsing, finding people online for offline encounters, was widely reported as an unlikely use bythe survey respondents“ (Lampe/Ellison/Steinfield 2006a: 170).Lampe, Ellison and Steinfield (2006b) analyzed 30773 Facebook profiles. They found that“thereis an association between how many items a person lists in their open ended profile fields and thenumber of friendship links they have. We found that populating profile fields on Facebook ispositively related to the number of friends a user will have listed. The amount of informationposted in open-ended fields does not affect the number of friends when added to the indices ofthe presence of information in the profile fields“ (Lampe/Ellison/Steinfield 2006b:441).Referent information (hometown, high school, residence, field of study) had the greatest positiveinfluence on the number of friends, followed by contact information (relationship status, type ofcontacts one looks for, website, address, birthday, AIM, email), and interests (interests, music,books, TV shows, movies, political views, favourite quotes, about me). Based on a synthesis of 41
  • definitions (Gandy 1982: 2, Hardt 1992: x, Kellner 1995: 4, Kellner/Durham 2006: xiv, Winter2004: 118-120), critical media and communication theory and research can be defined as studiesthat focus ontologically on the analysis of media, communication, and culture in the context ofdomination, asymmetrical power relations, exploitation, oppression, and control by employingepistemologically all theoretical and/or empirical means necessary in order to contribute at thepraxeological level to the establishment of a participatory, cooperative society. This definition isfairly broad and allows to combine different concepts that come from different criticalbackgrounds, such as for example – to name just some of many – audience commodity, mediaaccumulation strategies, commodity aesthetics, culture industry, true and falseconsciousness/needs, instrumental reason, technological rationality, manipulation, ideologycritique, dialectical theatre, critical pedagogy, aura, proletarian counter-public sphere, multiplepublics, emancipatory media usage, repressive media usage, alternative media, radical media,fetish of communication, ideological state apparatuses, the multitude, the circulation of struggles,hegemony, structure of feelings, articulation, dominant reading, oppositional reading, negotiatedreading, capital-accumulation function of the media, commodity.This definition helps us tounderstand that the reasons for using social media might vary from person to person and the totalnetwork of a person will be a good determining factor in defining the values, interests andattitudes of a person.Social Network Theory by Emile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tonnies views relationships in formof nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks while ties are therelationships between the actors.J.A Barnes 1954, using the concept of nodes and ties, states that the attributes of individuals areless important than their relationships and ties with other actors within the network. This network 42
  • also summarizes the social capital of the individual actors: the value that an individual gets fromthe network.The study will use the Social Network theory as a Backbone to determine: • What variables to measure: • What statistical relationships to look for: • Why networks are being formed via the internet: 43
  • CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY3.1 IntroductionThe study is a social scientific research focused on the young people in Nigeria. It is a study thatcombines both quantitative and qualitative methods for revealing the empirical data which willbe interpreted to draw conclusions. Although there are many social media sites, the focus of thestudy is based on users of Facebook.com due to its popularity at the moment and the presence ofa large number of Nigerians on the site. The scope of the study is therefore limited to users offacebook.com and not necessarily conclusive for every social media site. The quantitative datashould provide unbiased, objective empirical data which will be supported by a qualitativeanalysis of the usage online.Scientific research as according to Aborishade (1997) is often used to imply the formalizedprocedure for problem solving. The fact of the adoption of the formalized procedure in the socialsciences makes the endeavour ‘scientific’. However unlike in the natural sciences, social scienceresearch does not always involve laboratory experiments. The formalized procedures include-: 1. Identifying and defining the problem 2. Reviewing existing literature 3. Formulating appropriate research questions 4. Collecting relevant data to answer the research questions 5. Analyzing the data to answer your research questions or test the hypotheses 6. Drawing necessary inference or conclusions based on the outcome of the analysis. 44
  • There are several types of research designs. The five major types are-: 1. Historical Research 2. Case Study Research 3. Causal – comparative or Ex –post Factor Research 4. Experimental Research 5. Survey ResearchThis thesis combined the case study and survey approach.According to Aborishade (ibid), a case study research design is a type of research where theresearcher carries out an indepth study of a given social unit – an individual or group ofindividuals, a community or an institution. He notes that while a survey research covers severalunits, case studies cover limited units and often involve only one unit. This is why case studiesare limited in terms of generalization. He defines the survey research as a type of research inwhich the researcher is interested in studying certain characteristics, attitudes, feelings, beliefs,motivations, behavior, opinions etc of a group of people or items.This research being scientific and academic in nature, however, borrowed from the basicprinciples that differentiate scientific research from all other types of research as outlined byWimmer and Domnick (2006) that it must: 1. Include information on sampling methods, measurements and data gathering procedures for other researchers to verify or refute a given report. 45
  • 2. Allow for correction and verification of previous research findings. 3. Be objective – Researchers should deal with facts and not interpretations of fact. 4. Be empirical. Researchers are concerned with a world that is knowable and potentially measurable. 5. Be systematic and cumulative.This research is designed to use observation and questionnaires which are under demographicdifferences such as age, gender, occupation. All these were given strong considerations.A pilot test with 10 questionnaires will be administered to ensure a high degree ofcomprehension by the respondents from which adjustments can be made on the necessaryquestions.3.2 Population and Sampling ProcedureThe population of young Nigerians on Facebook according to Nielsen is one million, sevenhundred and fourteen thousand and according to Facebook research page, the number of usersbetween the ages of eighteen and thirty four is 1,340,120. Using a confidence interval of 10 and aconfidence level of 95%, the sample size to be assessed was 96. Therefore, 100 questionnaireswere distributed.For the sample chosen to represent a typical population it had the following characteristics A. Males i.e. Men and Boys 46
  • B. Females i.e. Women and Girls C. By occupation i.e. employed, self employed, unemployed and student.A purposive sampling method was used to collect the primary data and the questionnaire hadclose ended questions. The questionnaire was constructed from the research questions anddemographics.Specifically, variables based on Uses and gratification theory are considered the antecedents ofattitude toward the web, while Web usage (e.g., the number of hours spent per week on theInternet) and satisfaction are modeled as the consequences of attitude toward the Web3.3 InstrumentsA research instrument is a device used in collecting data (ibid 94). This study will make use ofquestionnaire and observation. A questionnaire is a research instrument conducted such thatrespondents answer questions about their opinions, attitudes, preferences, activities in a writtenform. A questionnaire is usually structured based on scale adequate enough to obtain quantitativeanalysis. Questionnaire can be open –ended or close –ended. Observation is the act of watchingindividuals, events or situations, behaviors, etc, the way they occur in nature in order to collectdata. The need arises because there are some situations that cannot be studied usingquestionnaire or other methods of data collection (Femi Aborisade, 1997)However, having clearly defined the two instruments to be used in the course of the study, it ispertinent to point out that the questionnaire was distributed to users online and offline.50% wereto users online while 50% were used for users offline. The observation had been carried out fora period of four months. Participant observation was done and analyzed using the rating scale. 47
  • Jensen and Jankwoski (1991), note that data collection in qualitative research involves a varietyof techniques: in-depth interviewing, document analysis and unstructured observation. WhileMontello and Sutton (2006) view quantitative data as consisting of numerical values measured atleast on ordinal or metric level while qualitative data are non numerical consisting of words,drawings, photographs etc.The method used is a questionnaire as well as observation. The questionnaire was distributedboth offline and online and the analysis was an observation of the accessible user profiles. Theobservation was carried out on 20 random users.3.4 Data collectedSecondary dataThe secondary data was the profiles of the users whose profiles were accessible on Facebook andtherefore whose activities I have access to.Primary dataThe secondary data is the data gathered from the questionnaire based on the various attitudes andusage patterns.The questionnaire is below: 48
  • QuestionnaireI am a Master’s student at the School of Media and Communication, Pan African University,Lagos. I am conducting a survey on the usage of Facebook among Nigerian youths. Thesequestions will help me with data to understand the usage patterns as well as other importantfactors. Please endeavor to fill it by ticking the corresponding responses. Thank you as you do socandidly and quickly. 1. Gender Male ( ) female ( ) 2. Age (18-24) (25-30) (30-35) 3. Occupation Employee ( ) self employed ( ) unemployed ( ) student ( ) 4. How long have you been registered on facebook? 49
  • Less than a year ( ) between 1 and 2 years ( ) 2 years and above ( )5. How many friends do you have on facebook? (1-200) (200-500) (500-1000) (1000 and more)6. How many new friends do you think you made through facebook? (1-200) (200-500) (500-1000) (1000 and more) (don’t know) (none)7. How many friends have you been able to reunite with on facebook? (1-200) (200-500) (500-1000) (1000 and more) (don’t know) (none)8. How many hours per day do you spend on facebook 15 and above ( ) 10- 14( ) 6-9( ) 3-5( ) 1-2( ) less than1 ( )9. Why did you join Facebook? To make new friends ( ) To find old friends ( ) To communicate with existing friends ( ) To find someone I can share a relationship with ( ) To interact with people with common interests ( ) To run a business ( ) To promote a cause ( ) I was invited ( ) Others ( ) 50
  • 10. Which activity do you spend the most time doing?(tick one) Posting messages and chatting ( ) Updating profiles and status updates ( ) Posting and viewing photos ( ) Writing notes ( ) Playing games ( ) Creating applications ( ) Looking for old friends ( ) Promoting Business ( )11. If you were not using facebook, what would you have done to utilize that time? Studying ( ) Hanging out with friends/socializing ( ) Doing more constructive (school or office) work ( ) Reading novels Any others (please specify)__________12. Have you ever met someone in person that you have come to know through Facebook a. Yes ( ) b. No ( ) 51
  • 13. Do you think facebook helps you to be friendlier? a. Yes ( ) b. No ( )14. In what way has facebook benefited you as a user?a. I have more friends ( )b. I am able to connect easily with my existing friends ( )c. I have found a life-partner through these sites. ( )d. I find it a great way to enjoy my leisure or whenever I am alone ( )e. I run my business on facebook ( )f. I express myself better ( )g. I learn from other users ( )h. I have enhanced my interpersonal skills ( )15. Do you feel facebook has created any negative impact on your personal life? a. Yes ( ) b. No ( )(skip to question 17)16. If yes, then what do you feel can be these impacts? Loss of privacy ( ) Loss of time ( ) More reliance on electronic media ( ) Less emotional bonding in relations ( ) Emotional disturbance ( ) 52
  • Increase in rivalry and competitiveness ( ) Any others (please specify)___________________________17. Does facebook influence your lifestyle in any way?a. Yes ( ) b. No ( )If yes, in what way?a. Career ( ) b. dressing ( )c. socializing ( )d. religion and spirituality ( )e education ( )18. How did you become familiar with facebook?TV ( )Internet ( )Radio ( )Prints ( )Friends ( )Others ( )19. Do you consider yourself addicted to facebook?Yes ( ) no ( )20. Do you use social media as an alternative to other communication media (telephone,television, radio, newspaper etc )?Yes ( ) no ( )21. Which of these other social media sites do you use besides facebook? 53
  • Twitter ( ) LinkedIn ( ) Bebo ( ) MySpace ( ) Blackplanet ( ) Hi5 ( ) Zorpia ( ) 22. Do you use any academic social media site? Yes ( ) No ( )Data analysis procedureObservation of secondary dataRating ScaleActivities Frequently(4) Occasionally(3) Rarely(2) Never(1)post personalinformationPost on otherprofilesUploadedpicturesPlayed gamesPromoted abusiness or causeSentcomplimentsUpdated statusmessagePosted aninspirational or 54
  • informativemessagePosted vulgar orobscenemessagesLogged on formore than hourFrequently=4Occasionally =3Rarely=2Never=13.5 Validity and reliability of instrumentsThe instruments used was designed cover the areas addressed by the research questions andobjectives highlighted at the beginning of this report. The instrument was also designed to coverother areas which will support the responses for the main issues. The pilot study helped to ensure 55
  • that the questions were sufficient to cover all dimensions of the study and also that there was aconsistency in terms of responses.3.6 Data Analysis ProcedureThe data was collected from primary sources and the results of the observation. Conclusionswere drawn based on the reported results on the findings and related to the research questions.Therefore correlations between the responses were highlighted.A total of 100 questionnaires were distributed and all of them were answered appropriately. Thequestionnaires were distributed to friends and colleagues at the School of Media andCommunication, Pan-African University as well as family members and friends throughFacebook mail. The secondary data was done by assessing the profiles and activities of friendson Facebook over a period of four months. Throughout these months, participation was increasedto allow the researcher observe properly, the various activities. The secondary data was analysedby using the rating scale, particularly, the summated rating scale. The various activities wereassigned numerical values and they were weighted accordingly. The responding degree of eachactivity was then measured according to each profile. The results were summed up in order todetermine the most prominent activities over this period and also to reinforce the findings fromthe questionnaire.The questionnaire responses were analysed using basic statistical tools which produceddescriptive tables, charts and other descriptive data. This is based on the use of researchquestions. 56
  • CHAPTER FOUR PRESENTATION/ANALYSIS OF DATA AND DISCUSSION4.1 Data analysisThe research questions posed at the beginning of the study were explored by administering thequestionnaire to the 100 respondents. The nature of the questions was such that it avoided 57
  • ambiguous responses from the respondents and it also helped in quick analysis of the datacollected. The analysis was done by treating each question, based on the research question, tableby table. Responses were coded as 1 for the first response, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc.Table 1 for question 1Gender Male (1) Female (2)Gender NumberMale(1) 48Female(2) 52Total 100 InterpretationThe females were 52% of this sample while the males formed 48Although this was a random sampling of young Facebook users, it is important to note thedistribution among the sexes. The number of females is just a little above the male. This is not acore issue to be examined by this study but it can help us examine some issues and if there aredifferences between the attitudes of one gender and the other. The difference in number is notsignificant and therefore cannot give deep insights into any differences between the uses by eachgender.Question2 58
  • Age rangeAge Frequency18-24(1) 15(15%)25-30(2) 57(57%)31-35(3) 28(28%)From the results obtained, the respondents within the ages of 25- to 30 were of the highestnumber. The ages 31 to 35 were 28% of the group while the lowest among this number werebetween the ages of 18 and 24. In a study conducted by Facebook, this age group had the highestregistered users. The responses obtained from other questions in the instrument can be said to bea reflection of this majority.Question3OccupationOccupation Frequencyemployee 41self-employed 6unemployed 8student 45 59
  • Due to the environment in which the questionnaire was distributed, 45% of the respondents werestudents while 41% were employees from various walks of life. Only 6 % were self employedand 8 % were unemployed. Facebook as a media form seems to be used by people irrespective oftheir occupation. If eight unemployed people out of hundred use Facebook, then it can be said tobe an indicator that Facebook has become mainstream.Question 4How long have you been registered on Facebook?Time Frequencyless than a year 16more than a year 382 years and 46aboveInterpretationFrom the table above, it is clear that a good number of young people in Nigeria have been usingFacebook for more than two years and it can be said to be a medium they are very familiar with.This is quite clear from the 46% who have been registered for more than two years and also thenumber of Nigerians on Facebook in the first place.Based on gender: male 60
  • Female From the results, 52% of males have joined Facebook for more than two years while 38% of the females have joined it for more than two years. This may suggest that some females might have been slower to join the network. How many friends do you have on Facebook?Number Frequency1-200 39200-500 34500-1000 201000+ 7 61
  • Based on genderMaleFemale 62
  • Based on how long they have been registered:InterpretationFrom the table above, 7% have friends over one thousand even though 46% have been registeredfor more than two years. 39% have between 1 and 200 friends while 34% indicated that theyhave between 200 and 500 friends. This means than at least 73% of the sample have between 100and 500 friends. The Facebook statistics page reports that the average user has 130 friends. Thissuggests that the Nigerian user does not necessarily have fewer friends on Facebook than theaverage user around the world. 63
  • Based on gender, 35% of the males have between 1 and 200 friends while 47% of the femaleshave between 200 and 500 friends. While 8% of the females have between 500 and 1000 friends,27% of the males have this same number of friends. This may suggest that males tend to havemore friends than females.In attempting to see if there is any relationship between the number of friends one has and thenumber of years one has been a user; the charts show that the highest number were those whohave been registered for more than two years and have between 200 and 500 friends. Thecollective number of friends is higher in those who have been registered for more than two yearsalthough a few users who have been registered for less than two years also have this highnumber. The results suggest that the more one is registered on Facebook, the more you are likelyto add new friends.How many new friends do you think you made through Facebook? New friends Frequency 1-200 52 200-500 12 500-1000 2 1000 + 2 dont know 24 none 8 64
  • InterpretationFrom the table above, 8% have made no new friends on Facebook while 52% have madebetween 1 and 200 friends. The results show a tendency towards adding new friends. This alsosupports the uses and gratification theory in which case the gratification here is socialization.How many friends do you think you have been able to reunite with through Facebook?Number Frequency1-200 62200-500 14500-1000 21000 + 2dont know 16none 4 65
  • From the results above, more people have been able to reunite with existing friends than find new friends. This gives us insights into the reasons young people use Facebook and what they spend time doing. These results also confirm what previous research discovered in other countries. (Mesch and Talmud 2007, Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe 2007) How many hours do you spend on Facebook?Time Frequency15+ 410 <14 26<9 43<5 181<2 33<1 39 The results above indicate that even though many young people in Nigeria are registered on Facebook, they are not logged in most of the time. However, on a larger scale, one hour a day will result in seven hours a week and then thirty hours a month. That is a long time to spend on one communication channel and from the results above, 39% spend less than an hour while 33% spend between an hour and two on Facebook. Why did you join Facebook? Why did you join Facebook Fre 66
  • to make new friends 17find old friends 25communicate with existing friends 29find someone I can share a relationship 2withto interact with people with common 10intereststo run a business 2to promote a cause 3I was invited 12InterpretationFrom the table above, the implications are that a higher number of people join Facebook tocommunicate with existing friends. 12% said they joined because they were invited and this isalso based on existing relationships because only friends who have the contact details of otherscan invite them. Although 17% said they joined to make new friends, 23 % also said they joinedto find old friends. These results suggest that a large number of young Nigerians join Facebook 67
  • based on existing relationships and that it is a medium for maintaining those relationships andnew ones.Which activity do you spend most time doing?Activity Freqposting msgs and chatting 58updating msgs and status 12posting and viewing 12pictureswriting notes 2playing games 2creating applications 0looking for old friends 10promoting business 4Interpretation 68
  • 58% said the activities they engage in most is posting messages and chatting. This suggests thatmost use Facebook is to socialize in addition to other activities. No respondent ticked “creatingapplications” as an option. This is an indication of the low rate of participation in technicalactivities. It also indicates that the level of creativity and innovation among these users is verylow because one of the strongest features which youths around the world have used on Facebookis the ability to recreate applications.If you were not using Facebook, what would you have done to utilize that time?act numberstudying 15hanging 20out/socializingdoing more 45constructivereading novels 12any others 8 69
  • Interpretation45% of the respondents said if they were not using Facebook, they would have been doing moreconstructive work. This shows that the usage of Facebook takes up the time which could be usedto do other things. This also shows that even though Facebook is very well used and accepted, itis taking the place of some activities.Have you ever met someone you have come to know through Facebook?response numberyes 50no 50InterpretationThe number of respondents who have met someone who they have come to know throughFacebook is the same as those who have never had that experience. This suggests that there is anequal chance of each situation occurring. 70
  • Do you think Facebook helps you to be friendlier?Response Numberyes 52no 48Interpretation52% of the sample said Facebook helps them to be friendlier. Although there is no significantdifference between the total of both responses, the 52% that indicated that Facebook helps themto be more confident shows that Facebook plays a role in contributing to social interaction andmaking it easier for some youths who might not have such skills offline.In what way has Facebook benefited you as a user?benefits numberI have more friends 16I am able to connect with existing friends 58 71
  • I have found a life partner through these 0sitesleisure when I am alone 14I run my business on Facebook 2I express myself better 2I learn from others 4I have enhanced interpersonal skills 4InterpretationThe results from this also show that more of the respondents (58%) consider communicatingwith existing friends the major benefit they have enjoyed while using Facebook. This alsocorroborates previous research in other parts of the world with findings that social media areused to maintain existing relationships. 72
  • Do you feel Facebook has created any negative impact on you?Response Numberyes 19no 81From the results, it indicates that most of these young people do not see any negative impacts ofusing Facebook.Nature of negative impactsimpacts numberloss of time 12more reliance on e-media 7increase in rivalry and 2competitivenessemotional disturbance 2For those who admitted that Facebook had some negative impacts on them, the most worrisomeform of impact for them was the loss of time and reliance on electronic media. This alsocorroborates what was deduced from other results which indicated that the time being used onFacebook could be used for other things.Does Facebook influence your lifestyle in any way? 73
  • Response Numberyes 40no 60Fewer people admitted that Facebook influence their lifestyles. This means that although a largenumber of people are registered on and use Facebook, they decide how to live their lives andeven though they come in contact with various messages, they are able to live lives withoutliving according to these messages. This also relates to the uses and gratifications theory whichshows that the consumer is not passive and makes decisions based on his or her own needs andwants.Nature of influenceinfluence numbercareer 4dressing & 2educationsocializing 30 74
  • education 4 The highest way in which Facebook has influenced the youth’s lifestyles is through socializing. This is also a proof of the results from previous questions which showed that most youths used Facebook to communicate with friends. Sourcesource numberInternet 41Friends 57Others 2 The “friends” option was the highest selected source of familiarity with Facebook. This also indicates that a large number of Facebook relationships are based on existing relationships. Do you use social media as an alternative to other communication media? Alternative num yes 74 no 26 75
  • This result shows that many of the users tend to use Facebook over other communication toolsfrom time. It also indicates that they are likely to rely very much on such social media tomaintain their relationships.What other social media sites do you use?Responses numberyes 76no 2476% of the respondents use at least one other social media site. This indicated that social mediais very widespread and very few people use only one social media site. It also shows that peopletend to use social media sites that meet their various needs and in which people who havecommon interests use.Do you use any academic social media site?Responses numberyes 41no 59 76
  • There are many academic social media sites and even though the sample had a large percentageof students, 59% do not use any academic social media site. This means that very few people areaware of the usefulness of the use of social media for education or in education.From the observation of the accessible profiles of users, the following were the sum totals ofeach activity by these users:Post personal information: 24 /10= 2.4Post on other profiles: 30/10=3Uploaded pictures: 25/10=2.5Played games: 17/10=1.7Promoted a business or cause: 23/10=2.3Sent compliments: 29/10=2.9Updated status message: 28/10=2.8Posted an inspirational or informative message: 29/10=2.9Posted vulgar or obscene messages : 11/10=1.1Logged on for more than an hour: 27/10=2.7From the results above, the activity with the highest weight is “posting on others’. This alsocorroborates the results from the questionnaire which indicated that the most activity carried outon facebook is communicating with friends, especially existing friends. The other activity which 77
  • forms part of relating with others is the sending of compliments or greetings. This is very evidenton birthdays, weddings and other celebrations. Other activities which also have a high weightinclude posting inspirational or informative messages. The weight of the vulgar messages is verylow and corresponds to “never”. From this, it is also indicative that the likelihood ofcommunicating with vulgar or obscene information is very low and facebook tends to be used bythe youths for socialization in a positive way. 4.2 Discussion of findingsThis study was intended to give answers to the research questions raised in chapter one. Theanswers derived from respondents through questionnaire were used to find out if the problemsraised by the research questions were resolved.A careful examination of the data collected revealed that the research questions receivedadequate answers as follows:Research questions • How much time do youths spend on Facebook? From the questionnaire, with regard to time spent, the results showed that 39% of the youths spend less than an hour on Facebook. About 33 % spent more than an hour and less than two hours logged on. From direct observation, it can be deduced that most people are logged in for more than one hour only occasionally. 78
  • • What are the reasons youths use Facebook in Nigeria? The results indicated that 29% of the youths joined Facebook to communicate with existing friends. 25% of the youths said they joined to find old friends. This shows that a significant number of young Facebook are attracted to Facebook based on existing relationships and join it to maintain these relationships. The 12% who said they joined Facebook because they were invited confirms the use of Facebook based on existing offline relationships.17% also joined to make new friends. This shows that Facebook is mostly used as a socialization tool.• What activities do youths engage in on Facebook? The results showed that 58% (most of the group) post messages and chat more than they do other activities. This also shows that socialization is the highest activity being carried out on Facebook. The results from the observation rating scale also shows that this is true as the highest rating were for social interaction via Facebook.• What benefits do youths derive from Facebook? The results show that a higher number of the youths: 52% admit that Facebook has helped to make them friendlier. This indicates that Facebook helps to enhance interpersonal skills. Further responses also tell us that 58% of the youths see the fact that they are able to communicate with their friends as the most important benefit. Only 2% see the fact they can run their businesses on Facebook as a benefit. This also indicates that although there have success stories of the use of social media to run businesses, 79
  • many Nigerian youths do not place importance on it. Also, 75% of the respondents who indicated that Facebook influence their lifestyles said their socialization habits were influenced.• What is the impact of Facebook on the lives of young people in Nigeria? The responses to benefits and influences show that Facebook has a positive impact on the lifestyles of youths in Nigeria, especially in terms of social interaction. The results show that the youths need to make good use of other beneficial features of this social networking site. 81% of the sample says that there has been no negative impact from Facebook. For the 19% of those who admit there are negative impacts, 52% express the impact as loss of valuable time. This is also supported by the responses which indicated that if they were not using Facebook, they would have been doing more constructive work, studying or socializing offline. This shows that these media sites might be leaving the students with less time to study, read books and novels. With regard to the use of Facebook as an alternative mode of communication, 74% admitted to using Facebook as an alternative to other kinds of communication channels which also emphasizes the reliance on electronic media for communication needs. 80
  • CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY OF FINDINGSThe purpose of this project as stated in the initial chapter was to understand the usage of socialmedia by Nigerian youths. It was also set to understand their attitudes towards this form of mediaand the impact on their lifestyles. The study explored existing literature, based on variousdimensions of the case in study. It also looked at the relationship between the youths in Nigeriaand Facebook as well as how the uses and gratification theory relates to the use of media. Thestudy carried out a primary research on users of Facebook between the ages of 18 and 45 tounderstand their activities on this site and how they might be deriving some form of benefit fromthe use of this social media site. An observation of the users of this site was also carried out andtheir various activities were weighted to find out which activity was most prominent. This wasdone to support the results obtained from the questionnaire.Therefore the findings are presented in the two categories of: a. Findings from the literature review b. Findings from the field research. 81
  • This is to enable easy and clear comparison of both categories of findings since the literaturereview is more international and global than the field research which is limited to Nigeria.5.1 Key Findings from Literature Review• Social media have become a worldwide phenomenon and various parts of the world have responded to it as most people will to any kind of development. From Facebook statistics, at least one million, seven hundred and fourteen thousand Nigerians are on Facebook.• Social media has become a mainstream activity and has become a major mode of communication especially for youths, who form about 50% of the world population on Facebook.• Social media has moved from being just interactive to a form of mass media. Therefore, there have been attempts to extend to social media, those theories that applied to mass media.• Social media has been predicted as a strong force in shaping public opinion especially in issues of politics, social causes and sexuality.• Social media has also been an expression of the complexities between the media and society. This stems from the fact that much of social media is user-generated content.• Although there have been a great amount of reception of this new media, a lot of it is met with suspicion especially regarding issues of privacy and security. 82
  • • Many of the researches carried out on internet media have explored the uses and gratifications theory. These researches have been fruitful in understanding consumer behaviors based on motivations.• Evidence from various researches shows that social networking sites are used widely and are used to support and maintain existing relationships, not to create new ones.• Many users of social media use it to communicate based on existing relationships.• Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites and social networking on Facebook is one of the most popular activities on the internet.• Relationships developed offline have been discovered to be stronger than those developed online.• Technologies are used to enable social relationships.• Social media interaction tends to widen the circle of relationships which the user has offline.• Research has also shown that people who had fewer friends offline tend to have few friends online as well. This has been suggested to limit the socialization benefits of social media. 5.2 Key Findings from Primary Data Survey • Youths in Nigeria use social media to maintain existing relationships and make new friends. 83
  • • Most youths in Nigeria spend an average of between 0 and 2 hours per day on Facebook. • Most youths in Nigeria joined Facebook to connect with old friends, existing friends or because they were invited by friends. • Most Nigerian youths on Facebook have little or no privacy concerns associated with Facebook • Facebook is seen by Nigerian youths as a beneficial tool for socialization • Most youths on Facebook spend more time chatting and posting messages than they do other activities. • Social media tends to take time and keeps young people from doing other activities such as studying or socializing offline. • Young people have also come to depend on electronic media more than before to meet their communication needs.5.3 ConclusionThis study has been able to confirm that most Nigerian youths use Facebook for socializationpurposes. This study is based on the uses and gratifications theory which says that mediaconsumers use media for various purposes based on their goals and needs. Students use socialnetworking to suffice their social needs like friendship. They are motivated and goal oriented topreserve their self-confidence. They use is to get in touch with some of their friends, to discover 84
  • and establish new friendships and at the same time to achieve their social belongingness.Therefore, this study concludes that there is an existing positive relationship between the socialnetworking services and the youths who use it. The habitats and attitudes formed according totheir aspirations were evidences that they have gratifications from using the social networkingsites. It serves as their prostheses. It enhances their interpersonal skills through frequentcommunication and expression. It preserves their pre-existing cultural ideologies on society.They tend to interact with different people and show their character.Social belongingness was one of the motives and achievements of the students as they use thosesocial networking sites. This is also corroborated by the low number of people who expressedprivacy concerns or any form of negative influence or impact. It is evident that the ability to usethis site as they choose gives them the active power to decide what to do with the site.The other dimensions to this are the issues of reliance on electronic media for communicationand how this might increase in the near future. Another issue that arises from this is the lowernumber of youths who use academic social media. It would appear that the goals and needs ofthe young users are based mainly on socialization.5.4 RecommendationsThis study was able to expose various insights into the uses of Facebook by Nigerian youths and,also, other issues that may arise. Therefore, the following recommendations have been made forobtaining maximum benefits from this form of media:For Facebook users: 85
  • • There is a need for Facebook users to ensure they understand why they are joining the social media site in the first place so that they would not be overcome by any negative impacts but rather they can use these sites for maximum benefit. • Young Nigerian users need to also make efficient use of such social media sites for other benefits such as education or business and also to create applications so that they can participate as full producers rather than consumers who only create content from a limited point of view. • Young Nigerian users should also make good use of converged media so that they are not limited to one or few sources of information when there are numerous sources. • Young Nigerians should also ensure they maintain their existing offline relationships while creating value even though these forms of electronic media are available. • Young Nigerians on Facebook should also use these media to promote their talents, interests and causes since they are available at little or no cost.For Facebook ownersThe Facebook owners need to see Facebook as a service and not just a business and ensure theybring value to all their usersAnother future tool social networking websites could use would be a licensing agreement withcertain parties to prevent copyright infringement from happening on the Internet.Adults and older citizens 86
  • It is important to bridge the digital divide between the young and old to allow the best use ofthese media. Social media has become mainstream media and is likely to be used in many areas.Parents and guardians need to understand the use of these forms of media and, if possible,attempt to use them, and try to be involved. This is because the use of social media by youths isworrisome to some parents who are not sure of the reasons the youths use these media. Variousways of achieving this can be through the use of social media in delivering news, education, insmall business managements and others.To other researchers:1. Researchers should conduct surveys that will trigger the students to talk about such personalissue like social identity.2. Other researchers can explore the role of social media in the upcoming 2011 elections inNigeria as a measure of the role it plays in politics.3. Researchers can also conduct a study which will compare the way social media is used invarious parts of the country and how this might relate to various cultures.4. With the growing interest in social media, other researchers can also study the impact of socialmedia in marketing and advertising especially in third world countries like Nigeria. 87
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