Impact of Social Media on the Writing Abilities of Ambrose Alli University Undergraduates in Ekpoma-Nigeria
This article examines the impact of social media on the writing abilities of Nigerian youths in English, which is the language of mass communication in Nigeria. Deploying cultivation theory of the media, this study uses quantitative and qualitative methods to unpack the Nigerian youths’ opinions on the impact of the use of the new media of social networking platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., on their writing abilities, using undergraduates of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma-Nigeria as a study case. To do this, information is gathered through the use of 120 copies of a validated survey questionnaire. Additional information is garnered from in-depth interviews (IDIs) with lecturers from within and outside Ambrose Alli University and focused group discussion (FGD) with some students of the institution as well as the researchers’ direct observation of the issue under investigation. The study discovers that a majority of the youth adopt a certain option/brand of English which cannot be located within the matrixes of Standard English or even its Popular Nigerian English (PNE) variant which is called Pidgin English. Consequently, expressions such as ‘u’ for ‘you’ ‘gr8t’ for ‘great’, ‘ur/urs’ for ‘your/yours’, among other deviational patterns, have crept into their writing consciousness in classes and examinations, which make a lot of ‘sense’ in informal settings among the youths, but smacks of sub literacy in formal writing situations under which they are being trained. As well, shortened forms of words and phrases such ‘LOL’, ‘K,’ ‘IJNA,’ ‘Y’, etc., are common sights in their writings. This development can have serious implication for effective and efficient writing among Nigerian youths, especially in formal situations. The study suggests that because it has been demonstrated that effective and efficient writing can improve comprehension of content in any discipline, enabling students to practice analysis, synthesis, and other skills that constitute critical, creative, and even civic thinking, students should be encouraged to write effectively and efficiently as more writing equals more learning even in the age of the new media (social media). It advises that further studies should be carried out on the deviational patterns and shortened forms of English words and phrases which are commonly used by youths in Nigeria and elsewhere, with a view to possibly getting the ‘new words’ standardized by the relevant educational authorities to ensure uniformity in usage, and to keep pace with the dynamically trendy youth/social media culture.
Campbell, R., Martin, C.R. &Fabos, B. (2007).An introduction to mass communication. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Cingel, D.P. & Sundar, S.S. (2012). Texting, techspeak, and tweens: The relationship
between text messaging and English grammar skills. New Media & Society, 14 (4), 12-24.Doi: 10.1177/1461444812442927
Comstock, G., Chaffe, S., Katzman, N., McCombs, M. & Roberts, D. (1978). Television
and human behaviour. New York: Columbia University Press.
Crystal, D. (2009). Txting: The gr8 db8. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Eco, U. (2002, April 20).Diminutive, but perfectly formED. Guardian (UK).
Eggermont, S. & Roe, K (2014). Television and risk behaviour – Contemporary perspectives.
Journal of Children and Media, 8(1), 1-4.
Gerbner, G. (1973).Cultural indicators: The third voice. In G. Gerbner, L. Gross and W.
H. Melody (Eds.). Communications technology and social policy: Understanding the
new “cultural revolution”(pp.555-571). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., Signorielli, N., & Jackson-Beeck, M. (1979). The
demonstration of power: Violence profile. Journal of Communication, 29(10), 177-
Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Signorielli, N., & Morgan, M. (1980). Television violence,
victimization, and power. American Behavioral Scientist, 23, 705-716.
Gil de Zúñiga, H., & Liu, J.H. (2017). Second screening politics in the social media sphere:
Advancing research on dual screen use in political communication with evidence from 20 countries.Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 61(2), 193-219. DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2017.1309420
Ehiemua, K.I. (2017). Personal communication, 18 August.
Ehiemua, K.I. & Omoera, O.S. (2015). Social media platforms of reality drama: A study of
selected Facebook accounts. Journal of African Media Studies, 7(2), 185-201. https://doi.org/10.1386/jams.7.2.185_1
Ekundayo, B. O. S. (2014). Linguistic symbol intraference in textese and e-mailese:
Implications for teaching and learning Standard English. GiST: Education and Learning Research Journal, 9, 124-141.
Humphreys, J. (2007, September 24). I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language.
Mail Online. Retrieved 3 Feb 2018, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-483511/I-h8-txt-msgs-How-texting-wrecking-language.html
Imade I., Elogie, A.A. & Ikenwe, I.J. (2016). Influence of social media network usage and
addiction on self-perception of undergraduate students at University of Ibadan, Nigeria. British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, 12(1), 1-9. DOI: 10.9734/BJESBS/2016/19040
Meribe, N. (2015). Reappraising indigenous African communication systems in the twenty-
first century: New uses for ancient media. Journal of African Media Studies, 7(2), 203-216.
Miller, K. (2005). Communications theories: Perspectives, processes, and contexts. New
Morgan, M. & Shanahan, J. (2010).The state of cultivation. Journal of Broadcasting &
Electronic Media, 54, 337-355.
Morgan, M., Shanahan, J. & Signorielli, N. (Eds.). (2012). The cultivation differential: State
of the art research in cultivation theory. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
National Mirror (Nigeria). (2015, Nov 16). Poor results in English Language in WAEC
New Scientist (2016 Feb 3), https://www.newscientist.com/article/2075668-our-future-
language-english-rulz-ok-txtspk-and-mind-reading/. Retrieved 7 Feb. 2016.
Nigerian Television Authority. (2017, Feb. 26). NTA Newsline. Abuja: Nigerian Television
Okhakhu, M.A. & Omoera, O. S. (2010). Media as driver of development: Reflections on the
Edo State, Nigeria experience. International Journal of Film, Literary and Media Studies, 5-6 (1&2), 12-22.
Odiboh, F. (2015). Personal communication on his Facebook page, 9 July.
Okoro, N., Diri, C.T., & Odii, C. (2013). Citizen journalism in Nigeria: Possibilities and
challenges. New Media and Mass Communication, 11, 1-7.
Oyedele, O.J. (2015). User-generated contents on online news media: An internet-driven
freedom that undermines national development. Journal of Communication and Language Arts, 6(1), 83-112.
Purcell, K., Buchanan, J., & Friedrich, L. (2013). The impact of digital tools on
student writing and how writing is taught in schools. Retrieved 16 July, 2013 from http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teachers-technology-and-writing.aspx
Pew Research Center (2015). Internet & American life project. Washington, D.C: Pew
Ravhuhali, F., Baloyi, M.S., Mutshaeni, H.N., & Mashau, T.S. (2015). The Prevalence of
Social Networking among Grade 10 Learners: Are There Any Academic Benefits? Journal of Communication, 6(2), 275-283. https://doi.org/10.1080/0976691X.2015.11884873
Rice, A. (2011, Oct. 27). Students push their Facebook use further into course work. The
Chronicleof Higher Education. October 27, 2011. Retrieved 2 Nov , 2011 from http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar=&articleID=873147815&ids=cPgSej4UdPsUb3oUd34PczoTe2MMcjkMcjsUdPwIdj4UdPgNcPsU&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod-b-ttle-68&ut=18LKI22akMN4Y1
Robinson, T., Callahan, C., Boyle, K., Rivera, E., & Cho, J. K. (2017). I love FB: A Q-
methodology analysis of why people ‘like’ Facebook. International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, 9(2), 46-51.
Russell, C.A., Russell, D.W., Boland, W.A., & Grube, J.W. (2014). Television’s cultivation
of American adolescents’ beliefs about alcohol and the moderating role of trait reactance. Journal of Children and Media, 8(1), 5-22.
Signorelli, N. & Morgan, M. (Eds.). (1990). Cultivation analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Copyright (c) 2018 GiST Education and Learning Research Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.