A Study to Evaluate the Social Media Trends among University Students

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Abstract
The study was conducted to a). examine the trend of using social media among university students, b). evaluate reasons for which the students use social media, and c). identify the problems of university students in using social media. The sample size comprised of 600 students taken.

A questionnaire was ripened for data collection. The research tool was finalized. The study revealed that majority (90%) of the students was inclined to use face-book. They used social media for exchanging wonk activities and developing social networks throughout the world. They used such media for sharing their learning experiences with their colleagues and international community. It was obvious from the study that social media played a crucial role in promoting collaboration and link to develop Virtual Polity wideness all over the world.

The respondents moreover faced some problems in using social media.
The prevalence of internet and its usage in higher education has set the modern scenario the world over. Presently, the advancements in its capabilities have opened up new avenues of interactions for sharing of knowledge and experiences. The innovative usage has generated new opportunities of sharing wonk experiences, and research practices of the eminent scholars of the world. It appears to be reshaping the instruction and instructional interactions. Internet has promoted virtual (practical) interactions for sharing research findings. Such internet enhanced interactions for liaison are termed as social media. It is an internet led technology used for promotion of social interaction. Social media is used for enhancing liaison by using media tools and internet sites termed social networking sites. The social networking sites have audio and visual capabilities consisting of web-blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, media sharing sites, micro-blogging sites, face-book, LinkedIn and … having capabilities to promote synchronous or asynchronous interactions and liaison rather.

The trend of using social media among university students seems to be increasing day by day and a large number of them is relying on its usage for interactions and communication. Seemingly, the number of students particularly at higher education level is using social media forgetting well-nigh their physical, mental and psychological health.

Nevertheless, when the authors worked on Second World Internet Project New Zealand Survey, the project survey revealed that 83% of New Zealand citizens used internet; out of which 80% used it for liaison on daily basis, 33% instant messaging, 25% played online games at least once a week and 50% reported to be the members of social networking sites.

Social Media is such a stuff used increasingly by university students and it is promoting virtual (real) communities and virtual (practical) learning environments (VLEs) for expanding distributed learning among users. The students interact in their virtual (real time) communities freely with members of the community. They can share information and study experiences, research projects and job opportunities with each other. Various factors contribute towards the use of social media for educational purposes. Armstrong & Franklin (2008) compiled a comprehensive report 2008. The report indicated that the students used social media in variegated manners to enhance and strengthen their learning, through reflection and collaborative activities in virtual(practical) environments. However, they depended upon infrastructure including and the skill of using social media. Now a days, the over and increasing use of social media at higher education level seems to be transforming the prediction of Armstrong & Franklin (2008) that “Universities will lose their privileged role as a primary producer of knowledge, and gatekeeper to it, as knowledge becomes increasingly widely wielding through other sources and is produced by increasing people in increasingly ways” into reality.

The usage of social media by university students is an interesting zone of research for educationists and social scientists. The Face book appears to be the most favourite medium. The present time is regarded to be the information age.
Educational usage of social media seems useful for all levels of education but university students are much crazy to use it.  Social media can be said to be the liaison facilitator and students wish their institutions to use social networking sites for strengthening classroom. In this regard Madge, Meek, Wellens, & Hooley (2009) stated that they lead to use social media to enhance educational interaction.

Social Media –Challenges and Issues:
The user polity seems to be facing some challenges and issues considering the social media. These issues were reported by students at higher education level including moral and social concerns. A worldwide disagreement appeared among students over the use social media.

The social media usage with the student society is rampant. The social media usage with the student only makes the student as world citizen or that much globally modern or the social media usage makes a student colossally modern. The social media usage and the student nowadays are seen together very prevalently as if social media usage and the student cannot be separated at all. The social media usage and the student stand together for a very broad educational touch and very broad worldwide relationship or interaction too. The social media usage and the student are thus together for the student to be in tune with the whole world even. If not for the social media usage, the student thus will miss the world very much indeed. The whole world itself comes under the control of the student by means of this social media usage and the student rather wins all the world, so to say, by means of this social media usage.

According to a face-book survey (2006) one third of the students were not in favor that their sense should be present on Facebook at all. The qualitative study conducted by Selwyn (2009) on United Kingdoms’ University students using Facebook reported that they used Facebook for criticizing learning, exchanging information, extending moral support.

The data indicated that 71.4% of the students used social media websites on daily basis, 17.4% did so weekly whereas 7.4% logged in fortnightly. However, rest of the respondents appeared to be uneducated in using social media and 2.2% used it on monthly basis, 1.8 occasionally and..

According to the data 92% of the users polity used social media for getting enjoyment and 73% used it for searching and making friends. However, there was wonk use of social media as 76% of them guaranteed that they used such media for sharing their learning experiences and research findings, 59% shared wonk events over the media, 92% used for getting latest information related with their studies, educational developments/ opportunities and current affairs. Likewise, 87% of the users were of the view that they used it for social networking at national and international level. But there was flipside category of the users without any social purpose and such 80% used social media for killing the time.  

The respondents asserted that they faced problems of electricity failure (93%). Low bandwidth of the internet (77%), lack of infrastructure like computers and laptops (72%), managing time for using social media (89%) during the semester, leakage of privacy (65%) to their co-learners, cyber bullying (29%) as they received some unwanted messages/ pictures and (68%) reported their physical problems like backache, fingers’ joint pain, and voiceless vision due to longer use of computer.

Conclusion of the Study
The study revealed that university students preferred Facebook as it is most popular media. The trend indicated that they used social media to enjoy, and for friendship. However, they preferred to share their study experiences & research projects, educational events, information, and developing networks.  And the social media usage is very high with the students rather.

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