Motivating issues affecting students’ use of social media sites in Ghanaian tertiary institutions

Date19 March 2018
Published date19 March 2018
AuthorNasir Koranteng Asiedu,Edwin Ellis Badu
Motivating issues affecting
studentsuse of social media sites
in Ghanaian tertiary institutions
Nasir Koranteng Asiedu
Central Library, University for Development Studies, Nyankpala Campus,
Tamale, Ghana, and
Edwin Ellis Badu
School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana,
Accra, Ghana
Purpose Social media usage has become popular among the youth. The popularity and acceptance of this
tool by the youth in large numbers make it necessary to find out more about the reasons why the youth are so
interested in social media sites and as a result rely so much on it in every social engagement irrespective of the
dangers or demerits it poses. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Design/methodology/approach With the adoption of survey methodology, this paper randomly selected
204 students majoring in sociology from University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and
Technology to participate in the study.
Findings Using the uses and gratifications theory, this study identified the following: WhatsApp was
found to be the most widely used social media tool in both institutions; chatting and keeping in touch with
loved ones and maintaining distant relationships are the major factors that motivate students in both
institutions to use social media sites. The results further indicated that students are highly influenced
by social media sites and, therefore, this has become their main medium of communication within and
outside campus.
Practical implications Social media, one way or the other is controlling the world and everything in it.
The exposure of students to this tool requires the taking of certain relevant measures to direct the focus of its
usage in tertiary institutions. It is against this background that this paper strongly recommended its
integration into the academic system and the enshrinement of social media policies in the handbook of
university students in Ghana.
Originality/value This paper adds to existing literature on students frequent use of social media and
confirms the assumptions of the uses and gratifications theory which simply asks the question why and how
people use media.
Keywords Motivation, Ghana, Uses and gratifications theory, Social media,
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana
Paper type Research paper
The advent of the internet and its wide usage has paved the way for other technological
devices in different models and shapes to be introduced into the world. The introduction of
these advanced technological devices in this era has also given way to several platforms and
means of communication and interactions among humans. This in a nutshell has made
social interactions and the sharing of information easier among all ages globally ( Yazdanfar
and Aghili, 2012).
In the view of Edosomwan et al. (2011), the emergence of social media has contributed to
the sharing of information through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, MySpace,
WhatsApp and among others. These applications have the ability to make communication,
information sharing and interaction possible based on Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a second
generation of the World Wide Web that helps people to collaborate and share information
online (Laudon and Laudon, 2013).
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 36 No. 1, 2018
pp. 167-179
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/LHT-10-2016-0108
Received 7 October 2016
Revised 13 June 2017
Accepted 24 June 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Use of social
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