Segmenting Student Profiles on the Usage of Social Networking Media: A Case Study on Facebook

December 2012
Proceedings of the International Future-Learning Conference on I;2012, p648
Conference Proceeding
Social networking (SN) media such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are communications technologies which are used by students today. The SN media has the potential of being used for various reasons such as communicating with friends and colleagues, providing and receiving education, creation of social capital. SN media has become widely used and adopted by millions of users with a great number of purposes in mind. Facebook is one of the most popular and commonly used SN media for college students. Currently Facebook has a diverse community of users at all levels of education and areas of society, including companies and universities. It is important to consider the necessity of using SN medias, and especially Facebook, for educational purposes as they are being used very intensely among young individuals. As the academic literature is reviewed, we can realize that these types of studies are now being conducted. There has been significant interest and growth in the number of educational institutions which are using social networking media in order to support learning and teaching. As the future objective of this study is to use elearning platforms for educational purposes in our Faculty, we are aiming at segmenting the students according to their Facebook usage profiles to be able to apply the new technology of using Facebook for educational purposes. Segmentation and creating usage profiles for students is thought to be a useful technique because this technique would improve the performance and effectiveness of designing and organizing the e-learning platforms. These profiles would be beneficial in targeting the students by understanding their Facebook usage better and designing more suitable e-learning platforms for them. Therefore, these appropriate tools would improve students' educational performances. The application of segmentation is thought to achieve better performance than those who do not apply this technique. A major contribution of this study is that it leads to comparing the differences among individuals (age, department and nationality), analysing the amount of time spent on Facebook, and realizing individual preferences in Facebook usage among university students. Our sample frame was limited to undergraduate students at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at the Near East University in Cyprus. Participants in this study consisted of 173 volunteer undergraduate students. In order to reach the aims in a scientific way, the sample was selected by the method of random sampling. The data collection form titled "Students' Facebook Usage" was prepared by the authors. The data collection form consisted of two sections: First section embodies 5 questions on personal information. In the second section, 6 questions were asked to learn students' opinions on Facebook usage. The results obtained in the study were analyzed, described, and later interpreted by creating tables using appropriate statistical techniques in the direction of the suggestions of statistical experts. Descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, and crosstabulation analysis for comparative analyses were used to analyze and interpret the data. The main results of the study indicate that same of the students check their Facebook account once a day and most of the students spend only 0-1 hours each day on Facebook. Another important finding of the study is that there are no statistically significant differences among individuals according to nationalities, departments and ages towards time spent on Facebook. As for the purposes of checking their Facebook account, most of the participants log on to Facebook to specify their location and to check in to see where their friends are at that time.


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