By: Mr. Elad | December 20th 2020

Abstract

This study explored the perceptions and usage of Social Networking Sites (SNS) among tertiary communication students. It specifically investigated students’ perceptions about Social Media, their most preferred SNS, and the uses of social media among students.  This study sought to determine the relationship between the perception of social media and the frequency of use of social media among young communication students in the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra. Theories underpinning the study are the Community of Inquiry model, Social Cognitive Theory, and the Uses and Gratification theory. The study adopted a simple random sampling procedure to respond to three propositions: 1. Students’ frequency in using social networking sites will not significantly relate to their research and learning. 2. That there is no significant relationship between frequency in using social networking sites and effective advertising of goods and services. 3. That there is a significant relationship between frequency in using social networking sites and perception of SNS among students. The study revealed that students perceived social media as an interesting tool useful for research and learning and concluded that communication students enjoy using social media but the use of the platforms for learning is limited. SNS was also perceived as a relevant tool for advertising and stimulating sales. 

Introduction

The usage of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) has become a common phenomenon in recent times. These sites are internet based tools that facilitate communication and exchange of content in diverse ways due to globalization and advancement in technology. From the days of sixdegrees.com which was in 1997 (Boyd et al, 2007) SNSs have evolved with even much more complex uses and grown to engulf the world especially after the inception of Facebook in early 2004, now the largest SNS in terms of user base (Staticbrain.com, 2016).  

Tham & Ahmed (2011) in a study examined the usage and implications for using SNS among college students. The results of the study revealed that female students spent more time on SNSs as compared to male students. In general, time spent on SNSs reduced as the ages of respondents increased. The importance of this study remains countless as  it stands the chance of being a primary source of data in other related research. 

Social Networking began in 1978 with the Bulletin Board System (BBS). Boyd and Ellison (2007) indicate that the BBS was hosted on personal computers which required that users dial in through the modem of the host computer and subsequently exchange information over the phone lines with other users at the other end. It appears that, historically, this was the very first system that created the platform for users to sign in and then be able to interact with each other.

The challenge is that the usage of SNSs has been of great importance to the lives of students. Students are getting more connected than before, making new friends, getting informed on issues, getting educated, and on the urge to stand up against systems or structures of power. However, there are some issues of interest that need attention. These range from time wastage, privacy, through to reliance on the internet and the loss of emotional and physical bonding. The purpose of the study was to unearth the perceptions of tertiary students about SNS; determine the most patronized SNS, investigate the positive and negative impact of SNS on tertiary communication students.

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