Impact of Social Media on the Writing Abilities of Ambrose Alli University Undergraduates in Ekpoma-Nigeria

  • Osakue Stevenson Omoera Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
  • Oluranti Mary Aiwuyo Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
  • John O Edemode Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
  • Bibian O Anyanwu Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
Keywords: social media, English language in Nigeria, writing skills, Nigerian undergraduates, cultivation theory, educational authorities


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. 

Author Biographies

Osakue Stevenson Omoera, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria

Ph.D., is of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria, where he teaches and specializes in Sociology of the Media and Nollywood Studies with a particular focus on the social impacts of the media, and African film and cultural studies. Dr. Omoera is widely travelled and has over a hundred publications in specialist books and leading journals. He is credited to have pioneered scholarly inquiry into the Benin video-film rib of Nollywood Studies. Also, he enunciated the “Active Volcano Paradigm” for the study of English as a language of mass communication, with reference to broadcast media news in Nigeria. He has served as a resource person to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the European Union Technical Assistance to Nigeria’s Evolving Security Challenges (EUTANS) Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Media Roundtable, among others.

Oluranti Mary Aiwuyo, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria

is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Educational Foundations and Management, Faculty of Education, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria, where she also teaches educational planning and management courses. She has an abiding research interest in the management of post-primary education for effective delivery, early childhood education, organizational communication, among other areas of educational sciences. She has attended many conferences and published articles in reputable local and international outlets.

John O Edemode, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria

holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. He has over three decades of teaching experience in polytechnic and university mass communication departments. He is published in reputable national and international journals. His research interest and specialty is development communication wherein he has authored three books. Dr Edemode has, at various times, been Head, Department of Mass Communication, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria, pioneer Head of Mass Communication Department, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and Special Adviser in Communication, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria

Bibian O Anyanwu, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria

Ph.D., a Nigerian, teaches linguistics in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, where she is, at present, the head of department. Dr Anyanwu is an Associate Professor with special research interest in sociolinguistics. Her research areas include: multilingualism, language variations, language endangerment, language planning, and ethnographics. She is the author of several books including, Multilingualism in Warri, Nigeria: Socio-Psychological Perspectives (2016), and An Introduction to Research Methods in the Humanities (co-authored with C.O. Isiramen, E.C. Emordi, O.S. Omoera, E. Imafidon, and  M.O. Idemudia, 2016). She is also the editor of AZILO: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is published in Nigeria. She has to her credit numerous publications in various peer reviewed national and international journals. 

How to Cite
Omoera, O. S., Aiwuyo, O. M., Edemode, J. O., & Anyanwu, B. O. (2018). Impact of Social Media on the Writing Abilities of Ambrose Alli University Undergraduates in Ekpoma-Nigeria. GIST – Education and Learning Research Journal, (17), 59-80.
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