Young People’s Engagement of Social Media for Social Transformation: Study of Nigerian University Students

Chikezie Emmanuel Uzuegbunam 1 *

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Abstract

This study using a sample size of 400 for survey and 12 focus group participants drawn from the population of a federal University in Nigeria, investigates the practicality of thinking about social media as online public sphere that offers Nigerian youth opportunity for such meaningful civic engagement and agenda setting. It investigates the level of access and social media literacy inherent in these youth, the uses they make of it, the extent of exposure and use and whether these translate into a culture of social transformation among these youth. Using the Uses-and-gratifications and public sphere theories, the study combined the use of survey and focus group discussions. The study finds that the level of awareness, exposure and use of Facebook among these youth is quite high. It is however found that the youth tend to make more personal, trivial and entertaining use of Facebook. The youth’s social media usage thus disengages rather than makes for active engagement with their expected role in social transformation and development. The youth, with reasons, have never used Facebook or indeed any other social media to advocate or win support for a cause geared towards social change or social development of the society. It is concluded that Nigerian youth should be challenged to embrace serious online activism through the positive, prudent, informed, literate, and better appropriated use of the social media as both a socialisation and an empowering tool.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 5, Issue September 2015 - Special Issue, pp. 171-194

Published Online: 01 Sep 2015

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