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This study investigates the uses and gratifications of social media among mass communication students of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and University of Jos, with the following six objectives To find out social media engagement by students in the two universities, to ascertain the preference of social networking sites among students,to determine the amount of time spent on Social Networking Sites (SNS), to ascertain the gratification derived from use of Social Network sites. To reveal the differences and similarities between students of the two universities in the uses and gratifications obtained from Social Media and to reveal the differences and similarities between the male and female students in the uses and gratifications obtained from Social Media. Survey method was used with questionnaire as the instrument for gather data collection. Drawing it sample size from the Mass Communication Departments of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Jos, the study used purposive sampling method to choose two universities in the study area and stratified sampling method was employed to select 307 respondents from the two universities. The researcher used the rank weighted mean to reveal the similarities and differences in the uses and gratification students in both universities derive from social media interactions. The analysis revealed that for students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 5 reasons form their major uses of social media, while students of University of Jos had only 3 reasons as their major uses of social media. These uses include ―keeping in touch with family and friends, getting news, and reconnecting with old friends and to be informed.‖ For students of A.B.U Zaria, convenience is a major gratification obtained from the use of social media, but for the students of University of Jos, affiliation is their major gratification obtained. Students of both universities agree to get gratifications in form of information seeking, pass-time, entertainment and relieve of stress. The study also revealed that WhatsApp is the most preferred social media among the respondents. Meanwhile students in both universities did not use social media majorly for academic purposes. The study therefore, recommends among others, that students should investigate how they can incorporate social media to aid their academic pursuit as a way of striking a balance with social aspects of social media usage. Also, institutions of higher learning should find a way of developing social media curriculum as a course that will help students derive more benefits from the usage of social media.
1.1 Background to the Study
It is not an understatement that social networking has enormously influenced and changed
today‘s society. Relationships in the society, the workplace, as well as in educational
institutions have been re-defined and shaped so much that individuals can even share their
everyday life with whomever they wish with the simple click of the computer key. If social
networking is used properly, it is greatly productive in helping an individual and business
grow and become successful (Kweena, 2011). Social media has revolutionized the way
people interact, the way they communicate, and even the way they think (Weisgerber and
Butler, 2010). It has become a mainstream activity and a major mode of communication
especially for youths who form about 50% of the world population on Facebook (internet
world stats, 2015). Social media has moved from being just an interactive platform to a form
of mass movement in the media. It has been predicted as a strong force in shaping public
opinion especially on issues of politics, socialization, sexuality and professionalism (Idakwo,
With the advent of the Internet, people are now enjoying the benefits of high technology-
driven mass media, which is not only faster than the conventional mass media, but also has a
wide range. Mobile phones, computers, and Internet are often referred to as the ―new-age
media‖ (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). The Internet has opened up several new opportunities for
mass communication which include e-mail, websites, podcasts, e-forums, e-books, blogging,
Internet TV, and many others which are becoming the rave of the moment. The Internet has
also enabled social networking sites which have redefined mass communication altogether.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have made communication with the masses all the
more entertaining, interesting, and easier (Manohar, 2010). The rise of social media sites on
the internet has gained popularity over the last decades. The sites have attracted millions of
users worldwide (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). Social media is about a configuration of
individuals, brought together often by interpersonal means, such as friendship, common
interest, or ideas (Coyle and Vanghu, 2008). It builds strong foundations for relationships and
creates unity amongst people in every aspect of human endeavours. Advancement in the
internet technology with particular reference to the evolution of social networking websites
such as Facebook, Twitter, 2go, Whatsapp and Myspace have aided this social advantage.
Social networking sites (SNSs) have entered people‘s daily life with amazing rapidity to
become an important social platform for computer-mediated communication (Correa et al.,
The social network approach holds that the behaviour of an individual is affected by the kinds
of relations or technical ties, more than by the norms and attributes which an individual
possesses. The social, informational or material resources that two individuals exchange
characterize their ties. Because of the increasing use of social media, individual social
interaction with friends, families, and professional contacts have transformed from offline
realm into online entity.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Use of technology for social purposes has become the mainstream communication method for
many people in recent years (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). Due to the increasing popularity of
social media networking, personal-social interactions with friends and families, and
professionally-related contacts have transformed itself majorly from the offline situation i.e.
face-to-face contacts into an online realm (Gallion, 2010). Nigeria, with the population of 167
million people (2006 Census), 125 million mobile telephone subscribers and 56 million
internet users, has been described as the biggest internet and mobile market in Africa (NCC,
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