SOCIAL MEDIA AND CHANGING COMMUNICATION PATTERNS AMONG STUDENTS: AN ANALYSIS OF TWITTER USE BY UNIVERSITY OF JOS STUDENTS

Samuel OLANIRAN

Abstract


The developments in Internet technology have seen a rapid rise and change in information flow in contemporary society. One such significant development is the popularity of social network sites, an innovation that is redefining the process of sharing mediated messages. Twitter, an online social networking and micro blogging service that enables users to send and read "tweets", has over 500 million users who send over 400 million tweets daily, with nearly 60% of tweets sent from mobile devices. Regarded as ―the SMS of the Internet‖ and one of the ten most visited websites, its users tweet about any topic within the 140-character limit and follow others. The paper set out to study the topological characteristics of Twitter, its power as a new medium of information sharing and social convergence, and dimensions of usage by students of the University of Jos. Anchored on the Uses and Gratifications theory, data was collated from the field through questionnaire. Results show that the medium represents both a social forum and a news outlet to the students. Based on this, it was recommended that users should endeavour to verify messages or tweets and sources before sharing with others.
Keywords: Twitter, Social Media, Social Networking Sites (SNSs), Tweet, Internet, Students


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