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1.1 Background of the Study
The concept of communication is traceable to man and his origin. It is etymologically argued that words are made to convey meaning to hearer. Hence, the very essence of communication is conveyance of some meaning to the hearer. It is this meaning that sustains communication. Communication, says Onwutebe (2010:56), is the passage of information from the communicator as sender to the communicatee as receiver through a channel. He notes the quality of the message is the passage of information from the communicator sender to the process of communication; adding that it is the receiver that adjudges a message qualitative or not. Communication, in quite different ways, is an indispensable tool of development efforts and the social life of every community opined Okwechime (2005).
Onwutebe argues further that means of communication is very necessary for timely delivery of massages corroborating Onwutebe, McJones (2004:60) notes that means of communication varies ranging from mass media, personal
to social media. He says that mass media is both electronic and print. The former is both audio and visual. Nwosu (2001:43) adds that Oramedia is also a vital aspect of mass media, which predates other types of communication except personal.
Tim-Jones (2000:84) States that the most recent type of communication is the social media, arguing that the massive and expensive nature of social media has made it unarguably the most extensive type of communication. He observes that the far-reaching nature of social media has made it the most sought for in marketing. The only problems are the complete divorce of privacy.
Jonah and Jonah (2011:99) argue that social media require literacy and technicality to operate. They argue that many literate people cannot use social media because they are not learned in it. To be learned in any field transcends literacy. It needs mastery of technicalities to be used, which is essentially in computer literacy. Many literate and educated people are not computer-literate which is the essential ingredient for the use of social media.
In a local government system, as in every other arm of government, the essence of government action is based on communication. Government policies are communicated to workers for action in the language they can understand. Uche (1990), therefore, perceives communication to be: the process of disseminating ideas and for transferring information, values attitudes and promoting new behavioural patterns that would encourage attitudinal change that is germane for creating a conducive environment for social, political and economic transformation of individual and his social system. Government requires to be understood in its policies for the people. Local government deals with the rural people. There is a great need to communicate with the people at the grassroots, which should assess government programmes. This requires the people to be educated enough. This study evaluates the role of social media in the communication management of local government, with reference to Ahiazu Mbaise Local government of Imo state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Social media is changing the world in which we work, socialize and govern. From twitter to eBay, Facebook to YouTube, new tools are emerging every year that place the connecting power of the Internet in the hands of everyone. Social media has been a very fast growing means of communication in every modern city. Very many people in Ahiazu Local Area have been learning computer usage. This has heightened the chances of them getting to understand the intricacies of social media. Besides, the use of computer is gradually being noticed in the Local Government Area. And in spite of this, there is still very low appreciation and application of social media in Ahiazu Local Government Area. The local government has too many people who are educated, but are not yet computer–literate. Also, the government at the local government is initiating a programme for Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is the bedrock of social media communication. This no doubt will achieve computer literacy in the rural communities of Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area, and
in turn create a valuable channel for improvement on social media application and appreciation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to evaluate the role of social media in communication management of Local governments with respect to Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A of Imo State. The following specific objectives are formulated by the study.
1) To determine the relationship between computer literacy and social media in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
2) To determine the correlation between general education level and social media communication in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
3) To examine the link between information communication technology (ICT) and social media communication in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
4) To assess the link between possession of connected personal computers and social media communication in rural communities in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
5) To discover the link between awareness creation and the use of social media communication in the rural communities in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
6) To ascertain the relationship between face-to-face real world communication and social media in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A.
1.10 Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated by the study.
1) What is the relationship between computer literacy and social media communication in rural communities in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A?
2) What is the correlation between general education level and social media communication in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A?
3) What is the link between information communication Technology (ICT) and social media communication in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A?
4) How does possession of connected personal computers and social media communication in rural communities in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A?
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