The cons of social media may outweigh the pros in Nigeria (1) – Businessday

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Social media is used basically for social interaction, access to news and information, and decision making.
Over the past five decades, the means of communication in Nigeria has steadily progressed from the traditional postal services and optical fiber technology in Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) to the era of the internet.
Like the rest of the developed world, Nigeria had its modest hut in the global web village by the early 2000s. These include blogs, microblogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, and virtual worlds.
Users can hold conversations, share information, and produce web content on the social media sites.
Thus, Nigerians were able to communicate with the outside world in fields including business and academics and through the era’s social platforms.
The public’s acceptance of social media has grown to the point that most businesses and organizations have used the platform to obtain competitive benefits.
What appeals to individuals is that it offers a greater chance of effective information digestion, i.e., it sends out appropriate and direct short messages to its audience in a way that facilitates content absorption.
Apart from social connectedness and influence, social media is rapidly displacing traditional business tools such as marketing, advertisement, profiling, and so on. This is because cybercitizens spend a significant amount of time using the cyberspace domain for nearly everything. For a competitive advantage, many brands are shifting to social networking platforms.
Furthermore, social media is globally fuelling a people-driven democracy with liberty and freedom of participation, which is beginning to alter our personal and professional economic, political, social, and relational draperies.
Cyberspace has resulted in a socially connected digital society due to the evolution of the internet, information systems, and networks, as well as people’s mobility and receptiveness.
Read also: Emerging Africa Group sees tech, media, communication attracting new investment in 2022
Social media thus plays an essential role in peoples’ life as a significant proportion of Nigerians have adopted several platforms to express their opinion.
Statistics from digital 2021 shows that of the over 205 million population in Nigeria, there were over 104 million internet users and 33 million (15.8 percent of the total population) social media users in Nigeria in 2021. The report shows that internet users in Nigeria increased by 19 million between 2020 and 2021, while social media users increased by 6 million.
Also, mobile connections in Nigeria increased by 17 million between 2020 and 2021 to 187.9 million. The access to the internet was highest (70 percent) among young Nigerians between ages 16 to 35. This number is high because many people have more than one phone or device connected to the internet.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) network data report of 2020, there was an increase in subscribers’ total volume of data from 123,648TB in December 2019 to 205880.4TB in December 2020. This shows about a 67 percent increase year on year in the volume of subscriptions. The increase may be due to the pandemic shock, which caused restriction of movement and resulted in the disruption of many activities, thereby constraining many activities online.
Using the average cost of N487.18 per 1GB data, as suggested by NCC, Nigerians spent not less than N100 billion on internet data.
Many Nigerian youths who are the primary users of the internet and technology services are propelling this widespread internet usage.
In Nigeria, it is a norm now for people to surf the internet. Most Nigerians that have access to the internet use it for social networking sites/applications. These include professional networking sites (such as LinkedIn), social photo and video sharing platforms (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram), and blogs and news outlets covering social, political, entertainment, and lifestyle issues often utilized platforms.
Furthermore, the report on Statista as of the Q3 of 2020 shows that WhatsApp has the highest percentage of the most used social media in Nigeria, with 93 percent, while Facebook is second with 86.2 percent, YouTube (81.6 percent), Instagram (73.1 percent), Twitter (61.4 percent), Pinterest (26.8 percent), LinkedIn (32.8 percent), and Skype (12.1 percent) among others.
The report also shows that Nigerians spend close to 4 hours on social media and approximately 5 hours on the internet daily.
The constant usage of social media has undeniably disrupted our daily habits and activities, and it is now embedded in our daily routine. Whether stuck in traffic, at the airport, in a classroom, on a lunch break, or even secretly at a boardroom meeting, millions of Nigerians constantly find solace in the escape known as social media.
The utilization of platforms with large audiences comes with several challenges. However, if proper checks are not put in place, the risks may exceed the benefits.
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Business Day, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. It has both daily and Sunday titles. It circulates in Nigeria and Ghana
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