Evaluation Of The Use Of Facebook In Cultural Propagation In Nigeria


Evaluation Of The Use Of Facebook In Cultural Propagation In Nigeria: Insights From University Of Portharcourt


1.1 Background to the Study

The concept of ‘’Global Village’’ earlier propagated by a Canadian communication scholar, philosopher and public intellectual, Herbert Marshall McLuhan in his Gutenberg Galaxy, 1962, has become a reality with the advent of the computer, Internet and social media. Today’s world has witnessed high level of dependence on the computer and computer-related technologies as well as the Internet. Interestingly, the Internet provides opportunity for the use of social media for communication either on a computer or computer-related devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. The use of social media networking sites has become part of the daily lives of some Nigerian youths. Facebook, WhatsApp YouTube, Cyworld, Google+, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr, Instagram, 2go and other social networking sites are very popular in Nigeria. Such sites are commonly used for many reasons such as self-advertisement and private communication, social interaction, e-learning, business transaction, entertainment, sharing of pictures, and gospel, etc.
One key issue of social media communication in Nigeria is the argument about the spread of alien communication values, especially among youths. It has been noted that Nigerian youth communication has been negatively impacted by alien values such as radical shortening of words, and increasing use of symbol and shortcuts, with little or no adherence to traditional grammatical rules. Computers and the internet have made easy the process of creating and editing documents and applying features such as spell check and grammar check automatic. However, this has not translated to impeccable written or spoken language by Nigerian youths. Beyond grammar checks, communication among Nigerian youths on social networking sites has been corrupted. Internet users are at liberty to post whatever they want to post, not minding the ethical dimension of such posts. They are always comfortable with sexual talks, abuses, vent, snoop, bully, gossip, rumour peddling and self – advertisement etc.
The information and communication technology, mobile communication devices and the Internet are playing a definite and considerable role in people’s social lives. The cultural and lifestyle of individuals as well as their interpersonal relationships have been affected due to accessibility to various emerging communication media, as well as the speed of communication that the new media provide. These developing technology devices help to increase social interactions and new media awareness. For MacArthur Foundation (2008), “Social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture”. They opine that, these new technologies have permeated young lives that one finds it hard to believe that less than a decade ago they had barely regis­tered in the lives of youth. The youth spend more time on social media. They regard the web, cell phones, Blackberries, ipods, ipads and others as essential tools for living. This research explores that the new media might be one of the factors responsible for social changes in the area of Nigerian cultural values among Nigerian young adult and that social nuances, cultural values may not be taken into consideration in the pursuit of developing new technologies for social interaction. Because of this an empirical study is conducted to examine how the new media affects the cultural identity of young adults in Nigeria. In view of this, this study will look at the role of new media in fostering Nigerian culture. In view of the above assertion, this paper Evaluate The Use Of Facebook In Cultural Propagation In Nigeria: Insights From University Of Portharcourt

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Communication starts from intrapersonal, interpersonal, group to mass communication. Mass communication has passed through phases, from the earliest book publishing through newspapering, radio broadcasting, television transmitting, film shows and now the internet surfing. In all of these phases, the internet era seems to have more effect on the kinds of communication contents (values) conveyed. Today, Internet has created a global community with everyone saying what they like with common language such: ‘what’s up on WhatsApp’, ‘follow me on twitter’, ‘check my status on Facebook page’, ‘visit us at www or download video’. This new communication order is said to have some kinds of negative impact on the day-to-day communication of the youths who are the preponderate users of the internet through social media.
Africans/Nigerians are known to be hospitable, friendly and live communal life instead of individual life, they are also known for their morality and respect for authority and elders but these fundamental features of our identity and culture are undergoing change.  The question is what then is being passed to this generation? How is it being done? And is the new media a contributing factor to these changes?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to ascertain The Use Of Facebook In Cultural Propagation In Nigeria: Insights From University Of Portharcourt
The specific objectives are to:

  1. To examine the level of exposure of young adults in Nigeria to facebook
  2. To investigate the media activities students of University Of Portharcourt engage in?
  3. To evaluate whether facebook project Nigeria cultural symbols
  4. To analyze the influence of cultural behavior of young adults in Nigeria

1.4 Research Questions/Hypotheses

For this research, 3´three research questions and two hypotheses are formulated.
What is the level of exposure of young adults in Nigeria to facebook?

  • What media activities/practices do students of University Of Portharcourt engage in?
  • To what extent do facebook project Nigeria cultural symbols?
  • Do facebook influence the cultural behavior of young adults in Nigeria?

1.5 Scope of the study

The work is on the Evaluation Of The Use Of Facebook In Cultural Propagation In Nigeria: Insights From University Of Portharcourt.

1.6 Conceptual Definition Of Terms

Social Media: social media otherwise known as new media is a form of electronic communication which facilitates interaction based on certain interests and characteristics on web2.0 technology. The term ‘Web 2.0’ was introduced into use 2004 by Dale Dougherty, a vice-president of O’Reilly Media Inc. at a discussion on the future of the web (O’Reilly, 2005). For him it was an attempt to explore the more potent power of the web that would go beyond the exploits already achieved by the Web 1.0. Web 2.0 is the term used to describe a variety of web sites and applications that allow any person to create and share online information or material that they have created. Such technology allows anyone to create, share, collaborate & communicate with others at any time. Web 2.0 does not require any web design or publishing skills to participate, making it easy for people to create and publish or communicate their works to the world. Many of such Web 2.0 based websites include amongst other social media platforms such as: Facebook, WhatsApp YouTube, Cyworld, Google+, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr, Instagram and 2go amongst others. Social media is a powerful platform for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Asemah (2011) sees social media as a digital interactive media. Social media uses web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social dialogues. Social media networking sites support democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers. They are elements of the new media technologies that provide the fastest means of communication to users; an online community that supports one-on-one social interaction. According to Sambe (2014), social media is a new media technology, a product of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Social media has altered our communication patterns by way of providing instant feedback, viral content, popular accessibility and availability. Social media can be classified into different categories based on users’ interest such as social networks- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; media sharing networks-Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube; discussion forum-Reddit, Quora, Digg; bookmaking and content curation networks-Pinterest, Flipboard; consumer review networks-Yelp, Zomato, Trip Advisor; blogging and publishing networks-WordPress, Tumblr, Medium; interest-based networks-Polyvore, Etsy, Fancy; social shopping networks-Goodreads, Houzz, Last.fm; sharing economy networks-Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit; Anonymous social media-Whispor, Ask.fm and After School etc.
Nigerian Youth: National Baseline Youth Survey defines Nigerian youth to be (15–35 years). However, for the purpose of this study; Nigerian youths are 15-35 years who are social media users. According to the 2012 youth survey report by the National Bureau of Statistics, youths of working age in Nigeria stands at 70 million persons in a population of 166 million.
Communication Patterns: In the context of this study, it implies the way language is used on the social media platforms by social media users which includes, word spelling, syntax, semantics, massage (content) of the communication with respect to ethical consideration.
Communication of Values: Communication of values is the sharing of ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions among individuals. In every communication experience, there is usually a sharing of what the communicant believes is right or wrong. What is right is dependent on his or her values. In the social media environment, media users share a number of things they feel are right. However, quite a number of issues have been raised concerning communication values on the social media. One of the major concerns is attributed to the works of Max Scheler who argued that anonymity turns people to irresponsible individuals (Vevere, 2015). Social media communication does not support one-on-one conversation; it is highly mediated, impersonal, encourages free expression of feelings, thoughts, ideas and is anonymous in nature. These attributes of social media communication have posed a serious challenge to the kind of values shared on the social media domain. In communication philosophy it is believed that the primary access to the realm of values is through acts of feeling and preference that are directed upon objects and persons bearing the values. In any concrete situation several values may be shared including nude pictures, sex and sexism, sexually explicit materials, and sexual violence, self-promotion, haste speech, rumour, gossip, use of slang and language constructs which defies the Standard English grammar rules. The dialogic philosophy of communication illustrates the philosophy of language as a feasible communication model that is applied universally. The social media vocabulary with reason refers to the praxis today is pathetically instrumentalized and confused when searching for the protonorms of new communication morality, and semantic exactness.