Social Media Usability among University Student: A Case Study of Jiangsu University - China
Abankwa Frederick1 and Yuan Run2*
11Management of Library Information and Archival Studies, School of Research Institute of Scientific Information, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, Jiangsu, P.R China
2Director of Scientific Information Institute, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, Jiangsu, P.R China
- *Corresponding Author:
- Yuan Run
Director of Scientific Information Institute
Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013
Jiangsu, P.R China
Received date: Aug 16, 2018; Accepted date: Aug 23, 2018; Published date: Aug 30, 2018
Citation: Frederick A, Run Y. Social Media Usability among University Student: A Case Study of Jiangsu University - China. Global Media Journal
Copyright:© 2018 Run Y. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Social media has now become the pillar among students in seeking for daily information. This research seeks to explain how students spend numerous hours on social media sites at the expense of study time. A multi-stage sampling interview technique was applied and about 550 people were selected from various universities. An online questionnaire survey was used to collect the data. The study revealed that the majority of students used social media for their daily routine. The media include Facebook, WeChat, YouTube, QQ, Weibo. Tables, mean, pie chart and standard deviations were used for the data presentation and analysis. The study revealed that students use social media for their self-pleasure and educational factors. Some also use to engage in cybercrime and discussion of economic activities. It also revealed addicted to social media reduces their time spent on their academic activities. Based on the findings recommendations were also provided that can help provide social media Acts, that can help the designers to provide a measure to also assist the communication commission to help curb the cyber-crime.
Internet; Social media; Information seeking;
Communication; Education ICTs
Knowledge is of great essence in our generation today. With
social media, anyone online gets access to an unrestricted flow
of information to add to their knowledge bank. In our 21st
century, social media plays an important factor in our behavior,
cultural, economic and things. A number of researches have
been conducted to examine college students' on social media
as has become increasingly popular [1-3]. Promoting and
virtual interaction for sharing research findings is done through internet. Such internet has enhanced the interactions
for communication. This is terms as social media. It’s an
internet lead technology used for the promotion of social
interaction among peers. Recently, the use of social media has
drawn significant attention from educators with an increasing
number of practitioners using social media in their teaching. In
2011, a new international conference on Information Science
and Social Media (ISSOME, 2013) was established to discuss
the role of information science. Inderscience Publishers also
established the International Journal of Social Media and
Interactive Learning Environments to help factor in issues
relating to social media. A lot of publication organizations have
set up room for social media to help researchers publish issues
related to social media. Recently, in 2014 workshop on social
media was held at the Information Seeking in Context (ISIS)
Conference emphasis on interest on the perspectives and
valves that information scientists can add to study social
media. Also, on April 9, 2017, 1st workshop on social media for
personalization and search was also held in Aberdeen, in
conjunction with the 39th European Conference on
Information Retrieval (ECIR 2017). The aim was to collect novel
ideas in the use of social media to mine user behavior for
personalization and search technology, to provide a common
ground for researchers working in this area.
Among university students’ learners, an increasing use of
social media and mobile technology for coursework has
recently been increased [4,5]. Social media by its nature have
the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and
inflaming the audience. It possesses a contagious and
outreaching influence which the conventional media lack. It’s
unstoppable media that has evolved in the 21st century.
As Library Information Science Researcher (LISR), it’s
important to find out how university students use the new
means of communication. This is because the new
communication technology is one of its kinds that many
youths in China are now surfing. This is because it has
decreased the language barriers among the students the in
The trend of using social media among university students
seems to be increasing every day and a large number of them
is relying on its usage for interactions and communication.
Among student particularly higher education level, the
number of social media usage is extremely higher which in
turns make them forget about their physical, mental and
psychological well-being. Nevertheless, a country like China,
the profile, and availability of the infrastructure plays a crucial
role in its usage. Now just like contemporary media, social
media sites spread faster than anything and are bound to be
sprouting as technology continues to improve. The problem is
that the purposes for which the users apply the new media for
are obscure. The reason is that in China, social media has
become a silent killer but our mindset has not been focused on
that area. This study set to examine why students in
universities make use of the social media. The reason for such
inquiry sets to unveil some of the fundamental purposes which
students use the new media to achieve.
Statement of problem
In China, the use of the social media as a channel of
communication and payment of items has been a growing
trend which will virtually affect all parts of the globe. The
people within the country including the university student,
make use of the new media. Technology can be used in so
many ways that can be beneficial and otherwise is a doubleedged
sword . Since the user has control over it, resizing it
to be good or bad depends on the user. To clarify, users
determine what they do with technology at hand. The problem
of the question is, does the use of social media reduce the
number of time students devote to their studies? Do the social
media have any positive impact on the students` studies?
Objectives of the Study
The researcher conducted a present study conducted with
the objectives to:
• Examine the purpose of using social media among
• To find whether the use of the social media reduces the
amount of time the students devote to their studies.
• To ascertain whether the use of the social media have
positive inputs on the students’ studies.
To enable the researcher to achieve the mentioned
objectives, this study shall be guided by the following research
• For what purposes do university student in China uses the
• Do the students’ uses of the new media make them reduce
the amount of time devoting to their studies?
• Does it have positive inputs on their studies?
Social media has exploded as a category of online discourse
where people create, bookmark, share it and network at a
prodigious rate. The study was centered on a media theory.
Knowledge is power and it does not exist in a vacuum. We
need to work for it. In every area of discipline, there exists a
theory that defines and provides an adequate explanation for
it to be understood by other. In social media, there is some
theory that governs it. Some of the theories include media
richness theory (information richness) that’s the ability of
information to change understanding within a time interval
. Another theory, dependency model theory that’s it focuses
on audience dependency on media as information resources
and discusses alteration of audience beliefs, behavior, or
feelings as a result of mass communicated information .
Also, the medium theory that’s media creates an environment
that shape, extend, involve, if not completely work over
human sensorium [9-11]. Last but not the least, use and
gratification theory that’s an audience-centered approach to
understanding mass communication that’s how and why
people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific
needs . For the purpose of the study, the attention would
be on the use and gratification theory. That’s, the theory
focuses on the consumer rather than focusing on the message
by asking “what people do with media” rather than “what
media does to people.” The question one could ask, why do
people use media and what do they use them for? The theory
discusses how users deliberately choose media that will satisfy
given needs and allow one to enhance knowledge, relaxation,
social interaction or escape . Once the medium does not
deliver to the people those purposes, needs or benefits they
anticipate from the organ. The issue was that the audience
would desert the channel that doesn’t satisfy them. When the
audience gets to know that a particular medium is not of help
they (the audience) quickly switch to another medium that can
give them (the audience satisfaction. In the early 40s, the first
research on the use and gratification focuses on the reason for
the popular appeal for radio programs. Infante et al. concluded
that the audience uses the media to fulfill the expectation
. With the use and gratification theory, the audience
chooses the medium that would benefit the content of
satisfaction. The comfort of usage of the social media has to
deal with the satisfaction they derive from using the social
media by the university students in China. The university
students (audience) directly or indirectly engage actively in
determining the media content they consume. The theory
suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and
using the media . The basic assumption indicated that
people use mass media for different reasons and seek to
derive various gratifications. According to Stephenson in his
book identifies play theories [16,17]. In this theory suggested
that we use media as a means of escaping into the world of
play not accessible at other time. According Li, the researcher
added that people who use social networks and other
computer-mediated communications are quite different from
the mainstream media audiences who relied on specific media
The theory could be relevant to the study because it looks
into why the university students use the social media in China.
Ruggerio claimed that the theory has provided a cutting-edge
approach in the initial stages of each new communication
medium: newspaper, radio, television, and now the internet.
This study indicates that there are certain satisfactions the
new media provide to the public without which their usage
would have waned. The study shall unveil the gratification
which the new media present to their teeming number of
student-users within the universities in China. The emphasis in
the theory is that the audience plays a great part in the choice
of the media. This is what the determined by what the media
The methodological approach of this study was surveyed,
mainly because it studies users’ perceptions of these social
applications. The opinion of the student would be the main
primary data collection.
The population for the studies was drawn from Jiangsu
Universities. All their rooms were wired with internet to
enable the student to have access to the network. The method
for the collection of data was a multi-stage interview sampling
technique. The data collection was a questionnaire with both
open-ended and close-ended questions. The sample size for
this study is 550. According to the research guideline
suggested by Wimmer et al. in which multivariate studies like
50=very poop; 100=poor; 200=fair; 300=good; 500=very good;
1,000=excellent . Random sampling technique was used in
this study, in which pick without replacement was adopted in
order to get the accurate information needed. Questionnaires
were used as the instrument of the data collection. The study
was done in a pattern using a modified Likert-type scale
because it’s most valuable in meeting the objectives of the
work. According to the scale the responses were assigned
valves like strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, strongly disagree
Test of validity and reliability
Pre-test questionnaire was randomly used to test the
reliability of the selected respondents from one of the selected
universities. The result generated from the test was used to
ascertain the reliability of the measuring instrument.
Questionnaires of five hundred and fifty were distributed
which were done online to the targeted respondent and five
hundred were returned to be used for the analysis.
The tools that are used in this analysis include R Program.
The data obtained using mean and standard deviations. In
analyzing the following acronyms were used. SA=Strongly
Agree, A=Agree, SD=Strongly Disagree, D=Disagree,
U=Undecided, M=Mean. St. De=Standard Deviation
Decision=Yes or No. to ascertain the cutoff point for Mean=(SA
+A+SD+D+U) ÷ 5. Therefore, representing the acronyms by figures SA=4, A=3, SD=2, D=1, U=0, therefore mean
Decision Yes=Acceptance No=Rejection.
In order to understand the usage of the new media,
demographic has been analyzed with the help of the R
program (Figure 1).
From the Figure 1 it can be seen that the number of age in
response to the usage of the new media is widely high for age
21-26 which have 45%, followed by 15-20 has 25%, 27-32 has
19%, 39 and above 6% and lastly 33-38 has 5% (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Respondent age distribution.
Figure 2: Gender classification of respondents.
According to the Figure 2, the proportion of male to that of
a female in new media usage is huge. While 55% of female
representing 275 in use of new media 45% of male
representing 225 also are into new media.
Also, in the questionnaires, I indicated a question to find out
if a reasonable number of students use the new media. Per that, I found out the reasonable student uses new media
which made the analysis really reliable. From the Figure 3 below it can be seen that 92% representing 460 students use
new media whiles only 8% representing 40 students are nonusers
(Figure 3 and Table 1).
Figure 3: Social Media Usage.
Table 1: Difference between new media and contemporary media. How frequent does people get access those media.
||New media like Wechat, whatsapp, Linked In, Youtube, Webo, Facebook, Twitter, QQ
||Contemporarily media like TV, magazine, Radib
||None of the above
Source: Research Survey 2018
Research Survey 2018
This survey indicates that contemporary media is gradually
been faded out from the system and replaced by the new
media that’s the social media since the new media is easily
accessible without any stress (Table 2). From the survey
question, Table 2 gives the explanation on how the students in
China use the new media. From survey or item 1 has a mean
score of 4.148 that’s above the mean cut off point (2.0) from
the study. Per the survey, the decision is accepted. This implies
that a lot of respondents agree with the statement. The
standard deviation is less than the cut-off point, of the study.
This implies that there is a high probability between those that
accepted and rejected the statement.
Table 2: Explanation on how the students in China use the new media.
||Student uses social media to read available materials
||Student uses social media to engage in online crime (Frauding, Scamming)
||Students use social media to create study groups
||Students use social media to get online partners
||Students use social media to do secret occult networking
Source: Research Survey 2018
The survey item 2 has a mean higher than the cut -off mean
of the study which makes the decision to be accepted that
indeed the students use the media to watch movies. The same
way, since the standard deviation is less than the cut-off point, it implies that there is a high probability between those that
accepted and rejected the statement.
Again, though survey item 3 has a mean score that’s higher
than the study but the respondent selection was based on
strongly disagree and disagree that implies that they (students) don’t use the social media to discuss national
affairs. This made the decision to be rejected. Since the
standard deviation is lesser than the cut-off point there is
higher probability between rejected and accepted.
Furthermore, survey item 4 has a mean and standard
deviation which is greater than the study cut-off point. In view
of that, the decision is accepted based on the fact that the
respondent selected strongly agree and agree on which has
the weight of 4 and 3. This implies that there is a higher
probability between those that accepted and rejected.
In addition, survey item 5 from Table 2 has a mean which is
higher than the study which makes the study to be accepted.
This implies the respondent agreed that yes, they use social
media to communicate with their relatives. The standard
deviation, on the other hand, is lesser than the study cut-off
point. This implies that there is a higher probability of
accepted and rejected by the respondents (Table 3).
Table 3: Responses from survey item 1 have the mean of 4.121, which is above the cut-off point for the study, thus accepted the claim.
||Student spend much time on social media than their books
||Student sometimes abandon their studies due to their favorite chatting with a friend
||Students keep chatting whiles in a class session
Source: Research Survey 2018
From the survey question, Table 2 gives the explanation on
whether the use of new media (social media) brings positive
impact on the students in China. From Table 2, survey item 1
shows that the decision is been accepted in that fact that the
mean of the survey is higher than the mean cut-off point of
the study. Also, there is a high probability between the
rejection and acceptance in the sense that the survey standard
deviation is smaller than that standard deviation cut-off point.
Also, survey items 2 indicate that the decision has been
accepted by the student in the sense that it has a mean of
2.781 which is higher than the cut-off point of the study. This
implies that a lot of student uses the new media to indulge in cyber-crime which must be addressed by the application
management team. The response has a standard deviation of
0.921 which is smaller than the cut-off points of the standard
deviation of the study. This implies that there is a high
probability of rejection and acceptance.
From the same table, the response from survey item 3 has a
mean of 4.522 which is higher than the mean cut-off point.
This implies that yes indeed social media help promote studies
among student because it helps them to study in a group. The
response has a standard deviation of 0.841 which is smaller
than the standard deviation of the cut-off point. This implies
that there is a high probability of rejection and acceptance.
In addition, survey item 4 has a mean of 4.310 which is
higher than the mean cut-off point. This implies the decision of
a student using the media to get online partners has been
accepted. The response has a standard deviation of 0.951
which is smaller than the cut-off point. This implies that there
is a high probability between those that accepted and rejected
Moreover, from Table 2 survey items 5 has a mean of 2.744
though it has a mean that’s higher than the cut-off point, yet
the decision is rejected. This is because the respondent
selection based on strongly disagree and disagree that implies
that the student uses the new media for occult networking.
This made the decision to be rejected. Also, the standard
deviation is less than the cut-off point; hence there is a high
probability of rejection and acceptance (Table 3).
Survey Question 2: Do new media (social media) reduces
their time spent on their academic studies
From Table 3 above, it’s clear that responses from survey
item 1 have the mean of 4.121, which is above the cut-off
point for the study, thus accepted the claim. That implies that
greater respondents believe the statement to be true. The
responses have the standard deviation of 0.941, which is less
than the cut-off point. That means that there is a high
probability between the respondents that accepted and
rejected the claim.
Furthermore, the same table survey item 2 has the mean of
4.045, which is above the cut-off point for the study, thus
accepted the claim. That implies that greater respondents
believe the statement to be true. The responses have the
standard deviation of 0.904, which is less than the cut-off
point. That means that there is a high probability between the
respondents that accepted and rejected the claims.
From the same Table 3 above, the respondents for the
survey items 3 have the mean of 4.313, which is above the cutoff
point, thus accepted the claim. That implies that greater
respondents believe the statement to be true. The responses
have the standard deviation of 0.856, which is less than the
cut-off point. That means that there is a high probability
between the respondents that accepted and rejected the
Discussion of the Research Survey
This study was based on the empirical finding. The findings
were based on the social media use as the new trend of
information seeking among university students. From the data
obtained it’s clearly stated that students in China has a sort of
social media for information and uses it for all sort of things.
Per the study, it can be found that with the use of the new
media; the students’ access everything online without
resorting to the contemporary media. This was agreed based
on the survey that concluded that a large number of
percentages of the respondent accepted the claim. This
ascertains that a large number of students use the new media
to play games. In China, online gaming has become so
common in social media site which is accepted by a greater
number 201 respondents agreed and 199 strongly agreed .
Also, the students use the new trend to discuss economy
activities in the country. The finding is similar to the article
written by Mike Saunders social media’s role in the Connection
Economy. It states that social media has become more than a
platform for people to tell the world what’s happening in their
lives and the economy as a whole. This is agreed by the greater
margin by 293 strongly agree and 172 agree with by the
respondent. This two-survey statement indicates that social
media has become a new trend where people seek
information and make fun from without stress. Due to the
online gaming that has emerged in China lot of student do not
take their studies seriously and it seems like every student
resort gaming even in a classroom.
On the other hand, in some part of the country social media
has become a new trend where people use to engage in any
political issues but this is not the case in China. Student or
even people are not allowed to discuss ay sensitive issue
online this is confirmed by the survey where the decision is
rejected. From the survey 222 respondent strongly disagree
whiles 177 disagree. From the survey question one, it
conforms to the assumption of the use and gratification theory
that social media provides room for the student to get
essential information need with stress-free. Per the findings, it
agrees with the topic that social media has become a new
trend where people seek information as one doesn’t go
through stress in getting such information.
With respect to survey question two, it agrees to it that,
though the student uses it for their entertainment aspect it
gives the positive impact on their academic performance. For
instance, through social media, they can read available
materials to help enrich their knowledge. The respondent affirmed by a greater margin of 311 agreeing to it. This is in
line with Linda Weiser and Hershey Friedman in their article
“using social media technologies to enhance online learning”
indicates that students are active participants in the learning
process through social media. Also, survey item three indicates
that the student uses the media to create a group that
enhances their studies. The finding on survey items two
showed that social media is a double edge sword, that implies
not only provide a positive impact, it also encouraged certain
behavior. According to the survey item two, it’s clearly agreed
by the student with 199 strongly agreeing and 192 agreeing to
the claim. This attests that student doesn’t only search for
material beneficially to their academic performance but also
do things that are barely illegal.
Again, not only playing the game and to search for academic
materials but is a place for a student to look for life partners.
For instance, in China, there is a large dating site called
“Tantan” that’s where a lot of students look for partners. This
is affirmed by a greater number of respondents that’s 283
agreeing to the claim while 181 strongly agreeing to it. This is
exposing the student to much sexual abuse and harassment.
The studies of the student are being jeopardized from the
finding due to regularly visiting and overexposure of the new
From the findings, it’s with fact that the use of the
networking sites has a great negative influence on their
studies. Lot spend time surfing on social media instead of their
Again, with respect to the last question “do social media
reduce the time spent on their academic performance?” This
reveals that students’ through the use of the new media
devote much time to it and reduce the time spend on their
academic activities. The finding indicates that the rate at which
a student uses social media is so alarming. This was attested
by the survey item one, 202 respondents agreeing to it whiles
189 strongly agreeing to it. This greater response indicates that
the student spends more time on their phone than on their
books. The finding is also supported by the greater
respondents, 293 agreed and 162 strongly agreed with the
statement. With this support student even abandoned their
studies class and keep chatting with their friend. Another great
confusing one is that student keeps chatting during the class
session. This is well accepted by a greater respondent, 298
strongly agreed and 151 agreed to the statement. This is really
disturbing on the side of the teachers, parents, and student
themselves as they don’t focus on what is been taught in class.
It’s quite strange that even top official during their executives’
meeting keep chatting while the business meeting is on the
session, this is not different from student chatting during class
From the finding, strict measures should be put in place in
order to make student use social media in the good manner as
the rate of social media usage keeps increasing.
Conclusion and Contribution
The study reveals that students have turned social media
into a new trend in seeking information and gain pleasure
from it. Upon findings, it attested to the objectives of the
study. The objectives are to examine the trend (purpose) of
using social media among university students, to find whether
the use of the social media reduces the amount of time the
students devote to their studies and to ascertain whether the
use of the social media has positive inputs on the students’
studies. After the in-depth analysis of the research, it was seen
that students use the new media to play games, watch the
movie, get partners online, chat during the class session and
also get some vital information from it.
Furthermore, being addicted to the media reduces the time
of the student in studying their books. Social media is seen as
a double-edged sword as it provides both a positive and
negative impact on the students.
This study reveals that if the students over-expose
themselves to social media it will affect their academic
performance. It is clear that for the student to achieve higher
they should devote themselves to using the internet to search
for useful information, being in the library, and concentrate on
their academic venture.
The study reveals that there are gratifications the student -
audience derived from their uses of social media. That implies
that the students use the social media because of the pleasure
derive like playing the game, watching movies and getting
partners online. As the use and gratification theory mostly
concern with the audience usage, the findings have
contributed immersive in strengthening it.
Social media has become the pillar for information seeking
in our 21st-century populace among the students. Based on
the findings the following recommendations have been drawn
to help trimmed social media well:
To Chinese government
The government should liaise with the ministry of
communications technology since the social media fall with
that sector to initiate policies to help tighten the use of social
media among the students.
The government should also with the help of the ministry
liaise with the provincial heads enact an act that would
provide the users the dos and don’ts in various provinces.
Lastly, liaise with the communication commission to
mandate all the social media service providers to institute a
mandatory law to monitor all social media apps to help curb
School management authorities
The authorities must regulate the use of a smartphone
during lectures to enable students to have focused. The authorities should make the use of the smartphone during
class hours an offensive and those culprits must be punishable
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