USE OF TWITTER BY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES

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ABSTRACT

This study investigated the usage of twitter by undergraduate LIS Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, Nigeria. Six research questions were formulated for this study. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The population of the study comprises all 80 200 Level students in Department of Library and Information Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. A structured questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. The data collected for the study were analysed using Frequency and Percentages. The findings of this study revealed that undergraduate students’ purposes for use of twitter are mainly to chat with friends; undergraduates use the twitter site daily; majority of the undergraduates spent one (1) hour to two (2) hours on twitter for visit in a day; majority of the undergraduates rely on twitter site to some extent for academic purposes; benefits derived from the utilization of twitter sites by undergraduates is that twitter provides a platform for students to make friendship with reputed and elite personalities. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made: University management, Head of Department of Library and Information Science, Library Management should organize seminars, orientation and workshop for undergraduate students in the university on the imperative use of twitter to solve academic problems; there is need for lecturers to give the students online assignments to enable the students use the twitter site to support learning; Library and information science (LIS) students should be encouraged to use social media such as twitter to enhance learning of LIS courses. Social media platforms such as twitter, facebook, whatsapp, tiktok, instagram, linkedln has made life easy with quick access to knowledge and information as well as communication.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The emergence of internet and the migration from analogue to digital has brought with its change the process of imparting knowledge, acquiring skills and values. The internet occupies a specific place in the life of students and the younger generations. One of the most significant subjects for debate currently taking place is the explosion in the use of social media sites by undergraduates. A big portion of social media users is made up of youths where most of them are college students Ekwelem and Onyeizu (2020). The internet has brought social media a new platform for enhancing learning, entertainment and communication among students and Library and Information Science students in particular.

Different type of social media used by students in this 21st century includes: Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Blogs and Google+. On Campus and Online, students share information to the online communities, send text messages to friends, peers, families, check their twitter handles and otherwise surf the internet. One of the social utility and free access website that connect people through the internet is Twitter.

Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to share short messages called “tweets” with their followers. It is a popular communication tool that is used by individuals, organizations, and businesses for a variety of purposes.

Twitter is an effective communication tool because it allows users to connect with others in real-time, share information quickly and easily, and engage with others on a global scale. According to Java, Song, Finin and Tseng (2007), Twitter provides a platform for microblogging, which allows users to share short messages that can be easily and quickly disseminated to a large audience.

One of the key features of Twitter is its use of hashtags, which are keywords or phrases that are preceded by the “#” symbol. According to Chung and Kim (2018), hashtags allow users to categorize and search for tweets on a specific topic, making it easier to find and share information on a particular subject. Hashtags can also be used to join conversations and engage with others who share similar interests.

Twitter is also an effective communication tool for businesses and organizations. According to Qualman (2013), Twitter can be used to build brand awareness, engage with customers, and promote products and services. By using Twitter, businesses can interact with customers in real-time, respond to inquiries and feedback, and build relationships with their audience.

Twitter is a powerful communication tool that allows users to connect with others in real-time, share information quickly and easily, and engage with others on a global scale. Its use of hashtags makes it easier to categorize and search for information on specific topics, while its real-time nature makes it an effective tool for businesses to engage with customers and build relationships.

Twitter has become an increasingly popular tool in the field of education, as it allows for the sharing of information, collaboration, and networking among students, educators, and researchers.

One way in which Twitter is being used in education is to facilitate communication and collaboration among students and educators. According to Junco, Heiberger and Loken (2011), Twitter can be used to engage students in discussions, share resources, and foster a sense of community within the classroom. By using Twitter, students can ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate on projects in real-time, regardless of their physical location.

Another way in which Twitter is being used in education is as a tool for research and professional development. According to Carpenter and Krutka (2014), Twitter can be used to keep up with the latest research and trends in the field of education, as well as to network with other professionals in the field. By following experts in the field, educators can stay informed about the latest research and best practices, and engage in discussions with other professionals about key issues in education.

Twitter can also be used to support learning outside of the classroom. According to Manca and Ranieri (2016), Twitter can be used to create a personal learning network, where learners can connect with others who share similar interests and engage in discussions and collaborations around specific topics. By using Twitter, learners can access a wealth of information and resources, connect with experts in the field, and engage in discussions and debates with other learners around the world.

In conclusion, Twitter has become a valuable tool in the field of education, facilitating communication, collaboration, and professional development among students, educators, and researchers. Its use in education is growing, and as educators become more familiar with its capabilities, it is likely that we will continue to see innovative uses of Twitter in the classroom and beyond.

Twitter is also a powerful tool for information dissemination, it allows users to share ideas, news, and other information quickly and easily. One way in which Twitter is being used for information dissemination is by journalists and news organizations to share breaking news and other important information with their audiences. According to Hermida, Lewis and Zamith (2012), Twitter has become an important platform for news organizations, as it allows them to break news quickly and efficiently, and reach a large audience. By using Twitter, journalists can also engage with their audiences, respond to questions and comments, and provide additional context and analysis.

Another way in which Twitter is being used for information dissemination is by governments and public organizations to communicate with their constituents. According to Bruns and Burgess (2011), Twitter has become an important tool for governments to disseminate information about policies, programs, and initiatives, as well as to engage with citizens and respond to their concerns. By using Twitter, governments can also monitor public opinion and sentiment, and use this information to inform policy decisions.

Twitter is also being used by businesses and organizations to disseminate information about products, services, and events. According to Liang, Jia, Huang, Zhang, and Xiang (2017), Twitter can be used to build brand awareness, engage with customers, and promote products and services. By using Twitter, businesses can also monitor customer feedback and sentiment, and use this information to improve their products and services. Its use in this area is growing, and as more organizations and individuals become familiar with its capabilities, it is likely that we will continue to see innovative uses of Twitter for information dissemination.

Library and Information Science is a merger of Library Science and Information Science. Library Science is the field of study that teaches how to manage books and other information, particularly through collecting, preserving, and organizing books and other materials in libraries (The Best Master’s Degree 2019) While Information Science is an interdisciplinary field primarily concerned with the analysis, collection, storage retrieval and dissemination of information (Harsha 2014). Library and Information Science programme is a tertiary education program that gives students the training and basic skills needed to excel in the world.  It prepares students with practical skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in this ever changing library environment. Library and information science is an academic study which prepares students for job placement in library careers.

Twitter has been developed to provide students many educative opportunities, access to information being the most important. Students now have access to twitter, share information, use it in their learning around the world. The use of twitter in learning makes students appreciate learning activities of everyday life.

It is a known fact that there is no single social network regarded as best for learning in tertiary institutions. What matters is the ability of the LIS student to make up, the short falls of whatever social network they want to use. Efficiency and effectiveness of the students depend on their ability to operate smartphones and this requires the acquisition of new techniques, new knowledge and new skills of manipulating the device.

Little wonder that students from sixteen years up are seen in Nigerian universities today. These students referred to as “New Generation” like to watch the screen; search information on the smartphone via Internet (technology-rich-environment students). Thus, Amiruzzaman and Amiruzzaman (2022) in their study indicated that how students use Twitter matters more than the amount of time they spend using it for their studies

According to Anyanwu, Ossai-Onah and Iroeze (2013) cited in Akporhonor and Ivwighreghweta (2017) in their study of use of social media tools among Nigerian undergraduates in selected tertiary institutions in Imo State revealed that the most serious challenges to effective use of social media by the undergraduates are lack of ICT skills and high cost of Internet access (Subscription).

In recent years, social media platforms have emerged as powerful tools that revolutionize communication, collaboration, and information sharing across various domains. Among these platforms, Twitter has gained significant popularity due to its ability to disseminate real-time updates and facilitate instant interactions among users. Its concise and succinct nature, coupled with its wide reach, makes twitter a potential asset for academic purposes, particularly for undergraduate students.

In the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), where the acquisition, organization, and dissemination of information are central, it becomes crucial to explore how undergraduate students are utilizing Twitter for academic purposes. Understanding the motivations and patterns of Twitter usage among undergraduate students in the LIS department can provide valuable insights into the ways social media platforms can enhance their academic pursuits. By uncovering the specific purposes for which students use Twitter, researchers and educators can devise strategies to effectively integrate Twitter into their pedagogical approaches.

Additionally, investigating the impact of Twitter usage on academic performance, information literacy skills, and the development of professional networks within the LIS field can help shape curriculum design, instructional methods, and resource allocation. Furthermore, exploring the challenges and limitations that undergraduate students may encounter when utilizing Twitter for academic purposes can inform the implementation of supportive measures and interventions.

While there have been studies conducted on the use of social media platforms in education, including Twitter, in various contexts, limited research has specifically focused on the utilization of Twitter by undergraduate students in the LIS department at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Therefore, conducting an empirical investigation within this specific context is essential to bridge the existing gap in the literature and provide context-specific insights that can inform decision-making processes; hence, the need for this study.

Statement of the Problem

Twitter is a social network platform that helps students to keep up with current affairs, trends and events. Twitter can be used to write twitter haiku, tweeting a historic figure, or editing celebrity tweets (Cox, 2020). It is surprising however, to note that despite the numerous benefits obtained from the emergence and adoption of twitter students are still unable to efficiently utilize the micro blogging service in their learning. The potentials of these benefits is not known to most students hence less focus on their adoption. This knowledge gap hampers the ability of educators and administrators to effectively leverage the potential of Twitter to enhance teaching, learning, and professional development within the LIS domain. Therefore, the primary problem addressed by this study is the need to investigate how undergraduate students utilize twitter for academic purposes and not for posting lies, nudes, fake news and rumours.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to find out the usage of twitter by undergraduate LIS Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Specifically the study sought to:

  1. Identify the purposes of the usage of Twitter by LIS Undergraduate students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
  2. Find out the frequency of usage of twitter by undergraduates
  3. Find out hours undergraduates spend on twitter per visit
  4. Find out the benefits the students derive from the use of Twitter.
  5. Find out the challenges faced by the undergraduates in the utilization of twitter tools.
  6. Proffer solutions to the challenges faced by the undergraduates in the utilization of twitter tools.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be of immense benefits to the field of library and information science  as it will be on addition to existing literatures and add to the available academic literatures on social networking.

This work will also benefit the students of library and information science as it will widen their knowledge on the use of social networking.

Scope of the Study

The study covers the use of twitter by undergraduates of library and information science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.

This study was delimited to the purpose of the usage of         Twitter by LIS students, frequency of usage of twitter sites by the undergraduates, hours undergraduates spend on social media, benefits derived from its utilization, challenges faced by undergraduates  students  in the utilization of  twitter and solution to the challenges faced by undergraduates in the utilization of twitter. There might be other issues bordering around the use of twitter by undergraduate students for academic purposes which were not covered by this study.

Research Questions

The following research questions were posed to guide the study.

  1. What are purposes for using twitter by LIS undergraduate students in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka?
  2. What are the frequencies of usage of twitter by the LIS undergraduates?
  3. How many hours do the undergraduates spend on twitter per visit?
  4. What are the benefits the students derive from the use of twitter?
  5. What are the challenges faced by the undergraduates in the utilization of twitter tools?
  6. What are the solutions to the challenges faced by the undergraduates in the utilization of twitter tools?