The use of social networking sites and social capital: The role of open university systems in Nigeria

Suleiman Alhaji Ahmad
Bauchi State University
Azare, Nigeria

Social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Second Life, NigeriaDotCom, Hi5, Okcut and thousands of others are widely used among students nowadays. Social capital (SC) reflects those intangible resources embedded within interpersonal relationships or social institutions. In a mixed method approach, this study investigated the SNSs usage and its relevance for social capital, as well as the role played by the National Open University Nigerian (NOUN) system in catalyzing the former. The qualitative and quantitative methods employed interviews and questionnaires with 50 and 300 subjects respectively. The subjects from the Open University centres in Nigeria’s six geo-political zones were selected. by snowball sampling for focus group interviews and purposive randomization for the questionnaire. The results indicated the extent of SNS usage and its influence on social capital among the students of the open university education system in Nigeria. It also showed the significant influence of this system on the use of SNSs among the NOUN students which also leads to social capital.