1.1 Background to the Study
Social networking sites are fast becoming very popular means of both interpersonal and public communication in Nigeria. Social networking sites are modern interactive communication channels through which people connect to one another, share ideas, experiences, pictures, messages and information of interest. Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites as:
Web based services that allow individuals to construct a Public or semipublic profile within a bounded system (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and (3)view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
They are interactive networks which information and communication technology (ICTs) bequeath to the modern society through the instrumentality of the Internet and the telecommunication gadgets. The social networking makes it possible to expand the networks and to increase the possibilities for communicating with wider audiences on the globe in knowledge sharing. Over the year, it has becomes a very useful tools for Nigeria Undergraduates to share knowledge through social media sites with various available gadget which has enhance their carrier achievement in the various higher institutions.
The interactive aura of the new network confers an unprecedented popularity on them. Also the ubiquity of the social networking sites within their short period of arrival is unparalleled in the annals of media industry. Awake (2011) buttresses this point by noting that social networking has become hugely popular. Similarly, it took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users, 13 years for television to attract the same number and 4 years for the Internet to do so, but it took Facebook 12-month only to gain 200 million users in sharing of knowledge which has become easy and flexible. Social networking sites provide various interactive platforms based on the intentions of their founders. There are for instance, social, political, academic, businesses, sports and religious platform. In other words, the social networking site by their nature has the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and inflaming the audience.
Social network can be defined as collaborative online applications and technologies which enable and encourage participation, conversation, openness, creation and socialization amongst a community of users.
Social network has influenced the education nationwide in Nigeria and beyond, it introduction has played a significant role in the administration and teaching and learning in both colleges and universities. Social network has changes the traditional way of sharing knowledge and information among students in the higher institutions in Nigeria. The use of social network in knowledge sharing cannot be overestimated it has helped to enhance access to information and learning with the use of networking in fostering transformation and easing accessibility to information for undergraduates.
A wide variety of characteristics and capabilities have been defined for social network in the literature. However, for the purpose of this study, those features of social media have been considered that are relevant to knowledge sharing purposes. They are the capabilities of social media that encourage, support, and enable undergraduates to share their knowledge easily and effectively through different mechanisms. These characteristics of social media can be categorized into four features: Social connections have become very important and have improved and enhance accessibility of information and sharing of knowledge tremendously among Nigerian Universities.
Knowledge is today regarded as a factor of production together with land, labor and capital. As the world moves towards a knowledge-based economy, knowledge is being considered as the main driver of this new economy. The success of economies in the future is going to be based on how companies or organizations acquire, use and leverage knowledge effectively (Bircham-Connoly, et al., 2005). On the other hand, understanding the concept of knowledge has become a dilemma due to the lack of theories on the subject (Willem, 2003). This is mostly due to its intangible nature, which makes it very difficult to quantify. As such, organizations may find it difficult to manage knowledge effectively. Within the overall knowledge management domain, a critical area that needs more attention is knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is embedded within the knowledge-processing scope where knowledge is generated and put to use (Shapira et al., 2005). Effective knowledge management strategies must emphasize the role of knowledge sharing to achieve maximum results for organizations.
It is in the light of the above that this research work will seek to examine social network for knowledge sharing among undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, social networking sites have metamorphosed from few-user-based sites into phenomena that have become niches for billions of users. The growth and popularity of social media sites have generated concerns among school authorities, communication experts and socio-psychological researchers about the benefit and potential risks facing undergraduates, as they engage in online social networking to cater for their social and information needs rather than oral or face-to-face communication in sharing of knowledge.
Throwing further light on the risk of social network sites on oral communication among their users, Trukle, (2012), the founder and director on technology and self, asserted that the convenience the social networking sites give users to communicate with one another can damage their interpersonal communication. Also, social networking sites make the users see one another as “objects” to be accessed and only for the parts that the users find useful, comforting amusing.
The major change over time has been made by the use of technology supporting students in the academic community. As the majority of students in higher education today belong to the digital-age-student generation, they frequently use online technology to interact with instructors, other learners, and to access online materials and share knowledge.
Through use of social network in academic, students have encountered with benefits─ as convenience, possibility of interaction anywhere/anytime, time-saving, low price and many others─ in addition to facing to limitations─ such as less effective or spontaneous contact, connection problems, lack of platform compatibility, less creative and innovative thinking, and other issues.
There is no doubt that no academic system can achieve its educational goals without sound information resources and services. These resources and services in the present era should extend beyond print and physically available resources to non-print, electronic and virtually available resources and services. Although most of the Nigerian university libraries are striving to provide adequate library and information resources and services to their teaming population of users more so in this information era, certain problematic factors may be posing challenges to students thereby hindering their provision of information services.
This study is concerned with the trend of use of the sites, what benefits students derive from using the sites, the dangers associated with them and ways to avert such dangers.
1.3 Objective Of The Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the use of social network for knowledge sharing among undergraduates of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State.
To achieve the general objective, the following specific objectives were formulated:
- To examine the role of social network for knowledge sharing among undergraduate students.
- The examine the most used social networking site by undergraduates of Ambrose Alli University.
- To examine why students use social media platform for knowledge sharing.
- To examine problem encounter by undergraduates in the used of social network site.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions will are raised to guide this study:
- What are the roles of social network in knowledge sharing among undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State.?
- What are the most used social networking site by undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University?
- Why do students use social media platform for knowledge sharing?
- What are the challenges commonly encountered by undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University in the used of social media sites?
1.5 Significant of the Study
This research aimed to contribute towards understanding the use of social media as it plays a significant role in knowledge sharing among undergraduate students in the universities. The study is significant as it portrays the potentials am,,nd advantages of applying social media in sharing of knowledge among students, such as closing the gap of traditional way of sourcing information and knowledge. This study will also be of a great significant as it will enlighten students the more on the role of social media in sharing of knowledge and its impact on their academic achievement. It will also help the students to familiarize themselves with the available social networking site for the purpose of knowledge sharing and also enhancing their academic performance.
The findings of this study is hoped to assist the management of the institution to identify the challenges commonly encountered by undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University in the used of social media sites.
This will further help the management in proffering possible solutions that will help to tackle challenges faced in the used of social media sites by undergraduates in Ambrose Alli University.
The findings that will be derived from this study will go a long way of adding value to existing literature.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This research work is undertaken to examine the use of social media for knowledge sharing among undergraduates in library and information science among universities in Edo State. But due to time, finance and other factors, the study will be limited to Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma (AAU) as a case study.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following operational definition of terms will be used in this study:
Social Media: It is a revolutionary arm of the web that provides new ways of creating content, collaborating, interacting, and sharing information online in an open social environment.
Social Networking: Is a systems that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
Knowledge: Ability of people and organizations to understand and act effectively.
Knowledge Sharing: A process during which the employees defuse their knowledge and information across their organization in a way through which people exchange their knowledge (implicit and explicit) jointly and create new common knowledge.
Undergraduates: University or college students who is studying for their first degree.
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