1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The advent of social media has transformed every facet of human life, facilitating information sharing and building ties across social, demographic and geographic divides (Luo & Smith, 2015). With a motivating capacity for widespread public engagement, social media is probably the fastest and most cost-effective means of connecting with any desired audience. The media is increasingly getting used all manners of communication starting from personal and academic communications (Campbell & Craig, 2014) to professional, health, and well being related (Shaffer-Hudkins, Johnson, Melton, & Wingert, 2014). Social media isn't only important for creating an internet presence, but it's also become a veritable platform for marketing and relationship building (Manfred, Verena, & Daniela, 2012). Individuals and organizations now interact with their clients, consumers, friends and/or fans using social media platforms. Notwithstanding the several million (over a billion) already on the media, available data reveals that more people are embracing it on a day to day, and also the majority of users operate accounts on multiple platforms (eMarketer, 2013; Pew Research, 2015). Given the unique benefits in social media for expansive and targeted audience reach, and also the promises it holds for the long run of communication, public health professionals are keen on adopting the media for the delivery of health promotion and behavior change intervention programs (Freeman, Potente, Rock, & McIver, 2015).However, as noted by Freeman et al. (2015), the present body of information on the suitable use of social media for public health purposes is proscribed. While social media is believed to carry a substantial potential for behaviour change communication [BCC] (Freeman et al., 2015; Korda & Itani, 2013), there's evidence that the media is proscribed and will not always be suitable for achieving the objectives of behavioural change communication (Korda & Itani, 2013).These observations underscore the need for this study which aims to spotlight how social media is also strategically applied towards achieving BCC objectives. Characteristics of behaviour involve a person’s action (what people do or say) as defined by Miltenberger (2012). It dimensions which will be measured, counting the amount of times behaviour occurs. Behaviours are often observed, described, and recorded by others or by the person engaging within the behaviour. It’s an effect on the environment, including the physical or the social environment. Behaviour is lawful that its occurrence is systematically influenced by environmental events. The characteristics of behaviors are often interrelated to the change of behavior within the near environment of online context in terms of communication. Communication features a marked effect on behavior but research shows that behavior change rarely happens immediately upon exposure to a message. There are five models of communication effects (knowledge, approval, intention, practice, and advocacy) usually employed during behavior change intervention. Beebe, Beebe, and Redmond (2005) have stated that interactions among friends and relations are dramatically altered by the introduction of the private computer and computer-mediated communication (CMC). “It could be a typical scene in modern families recently that the daddy is also watching the news on the tv, the mother is busy wiggling with her smartphone, the sons are fighting aliens on the sport console and also the daughter is fiddling with the applications on her tablet. Every eyeball is viewing some type of screen” (Shout, 2012). It’s stated by Devito (2005) regarding online context to the human relationships that “perhaps even more obvious than culture or gender is that the influence of technology on interpersonal relationships”; “not surprisingly, people who communicated (online) more frequently formed more relationships”. They need also stated that individuals will behave differently in line with whom they're interacting with, what reasonably relationships they need, and other scenarios. Another emphasis from their research is that their respondents attended use the net to form contacts with distant social circles and to utilize face-to-face contact with local social circles. This is often demonstrating that the link influences users’ social behaviors. Online communication may waken a nasty experience in online behavior too. It’s stated by Christofides, Muise, and Desmarais (2012) that postings on social media may additionally cause feelings of regret if negative consequences like loss of opportunity or punishment are experienced. Online disclosures may additionally end in negative consequences for romantic relationships that “those who spend longer on social media are more likely to experience jealousy in response to ambiguous information that they see on the positioning, which can have consequences for his or her intimate relationships” (Christofides, Muise, & Desmarais, 2012). In contrast to the view of how social media can cause a nasty experience in an internet behavior and negative consequences for romantic relationships, Kryan, Moore, and Zill (2014) have suggested some characteristics found among successful families. Of all the characteristics suggested, communication is that the key characteristic of strong families. Family Dynamics Institute (2013) has highlighted that the key to family communication is building trust. Trust is that the ally when it involves building an environment that fosters open communication. As leading into a wider scope of the nuclear family and family communication, “the family has traditionally and commonly been seen because the fundamental unit in society” (Leung et al., 2003). Haralambos, Holborn, and Heald (2000) have stated that “the family has often been considered the cornerstone of society. In pre-modern and modern societies alike it's been seen because the most elementary unit of social organization…” From both views attached, one can infer the important role of the family in social cohesion, where the concept of social cohesion refers to a condition of social unity or solidarity, and also the parts fit together to make a united whole. This research studies the impact of social media on behavioral change communication within the near environment and online context relevant to human communications. Accordingly, it'll discuss the utilization of social media in behavioral change communication with a selected target its benefits, limitations, and ways better harness the media for behavioural change communication purposes.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Human beings have always needed and desired information for survival as they face life and its several threatening situations. Such needs and desires are being met in every life by the mass media. The influence and pervasiveness of the mass media can be found everywhere around us today, and they are everywhere respected. We must search long and hard to find a Nigerian who will say that information provided by the media is not generally good for him or her and that such information has not influence him or her in one way or another. We can sat with a large measure of certainty that one of the primary assumptions held by most Nigerians is that the media and the information derived from them have influenced our thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. Communication starts from intrapersonal, interpersonal, group to mass communication. Mass communication has passed through phases, from the earliest book publishing through newspapering, radio broadcasting, television transmitting, film shows and now the internet surfing. In all of these phases, the internet era seems to have more effect on the kinds of communication contents (values) conveyed. Today, Internet has created a global community with everyone saying what they like with common language such: ‘what’s up on WhatsApp’, ‘follow me on twitter’, ‘check my status on Facebook page’, ‘visit us at www or download video’. This new communication order is said to have some kinds of negative impact on the day-to-day communication and behaviour of the people who are the preponderate users of the internet through social media. This claim is not yet ascertained scientifically, but spurs the interest of the researchers to embark on this research project.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine social media and behavioural change communication. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The current study anticipates advancing research and knowledge by finding out the impacts of social media on behavioural change communication. Social networks are giving voice to the opinions of millions of consumers. While mainstream media continues to play a vital role in the propagation of information, even these traditional channels are increasingly being influenced by online conversations. The new influencers are therefore beginning to tear at the fabric of communication as it has existed for 100 years, giving rise to a new style of communication that is characterized by conversation and community. This study examines the prior literature regarding social media technologies and investigates its impact on people of Andoni L.G.A in order to address gaps in the literature. A thorough investigation of the prior literature related to social media technologies revealed that such research studies are either rare or non-existent. Therefore, this study investigates the social media usage, viewpoints, and the opinion of interest, problems of media usage, and other issues of the respondents
The study is restricted to the social media and behavioural change communication, a case study of Andoni L.G.A in Rivers state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media: They are forms of electronic communication which facilitate interactive base on certain interests. Social media include web and mobile technology. They are web-based applications where people create profiles and connect with others (with profiles) in a closed system
Media: Are all those media technologies that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication. “They are messages communicated through a mass medium to a number of people
BEHAVIOR CHANGE INTERVENTION (BCI): A combination of activities/interventions tailored to the needs of a specific group and developed with that group to help reduce risk behaviours and vulnerability to HIV by creating an enabling environment for individual and collective change.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE COMMUNICATION (BCC): An interactive process with communities (as integrated with an overall program) to develop tailored messages and approaches using a variety of communication channels to develop positive behaviours; promote and sustain individual, community and societal behaviour change; and maintain appropriate behaviours.
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