Using Facebook as a Reliable Means of Attracting Youths to Politics

Abstract

After sweeping over America, Canada and other developed nations, social networking sites are making inroads into the African community. Many African countries have adopted this form of virtual socialization, and Nigeria is such one country. These sites include Twitter, MySpace, and Hi5 among others. However, Facebook seems to have made the biggest impact on this continent. Many people in this country are adopting this site, making it one of the fastest growing social networking sites in Africa and the rest of the world.

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This research noted the growth of this site in Africa, and especially Nigeria, and sought to use it to address a real social problem in society. It has been noted that the majority of youths in Nigeria do not participate in the country’s elections. This has been put down to lack of opportunities and disillusionment with the current crop of leaders. The researcher sought to use Facebook as an effective tool for mobilizing youths so that they can participate in the forthcoming elections in 2011.

The project’s aim was to come up with a prototype that was user-friendly and which would make Facebook a tool to make youths proactive in politics. Existing literature was first reviewed, and then data collected to determine user requirements that will inform the design and implementation of the prototype. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to collect the data.

The prototype that was developed was a Facebook page titled “NIGERIAN YOUTH 2011”. The page will be used as a discussion forum where youths can voice their opinions regarding the forthcoming elections. They will also be able to register as voters and as members of their desired political parties.

After the prototype was developed, it was evaluated to make sure that the user requirements identified had been addressed. Changes and adjustments to the site were suggested. After the evaluation of the final prototype, a SWOT analysis was carried out on the whole to determine its feasibility in Nigeria. The target group for the project were youths aged between eighteen and twenty-five years. This is the group that was identified as having embraced Facebook, yet ignorant on matters political.

Project Overview

Introduction

It is slightly more than one year to the next presidential election in Nigeria, which will take place in April 2011. Campaigns will start in earnest this year, and the country will be in an election mood way before the actual day of voting. However, there is one thing that is missing from this process; participation of the youth in the elections. Youths between the years of eighteen and twenty five have been known to ignore elections, and they rarely participate in politics of any kind in the country. This is of concern given the fact that they make up the majority of the population. The elections shape the future of any democratic nation, and it is the youths that are going to live in that future, not the elderly people who are participating in elections at present. In this light, it is important to enhance the participation of this segment of the population in the country’s elections. The forthcoming general elections provide the opportunity to ensure that the awareness of this population is aroused, and they will participate in those in the same.

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One way to ensure that the youth participate in elections is to reach out to them. Social networking sites (SNS) have emerged to be the perfect platform to interact with them, given that majority are computer literate and interact with their friends on these sites. Facebook is one site that can be used for this purpose. Currently, there are about 350,000 Facebook users based in Nigeria. The majority of these are college and high school students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. This is a considerable number that can make an impact if recruited to participate in elections.

This project aims to come up with a prototype that would utilize Facebook effectively to enrol Nigerian youths for political participation, with the objective of making them cast their votes in the forthcoming elections. The site will be used to register the youths so that they are able to vote, it will also act as a platform for them to share views and opinions on the candidates proposed for the election. They will also be able to register as members of political parties.

Background and Definition of the Problem

The twenty-first century will be remembered as the period when social networking sites experienced unprecedented growth. These include Facebook, Myspace, Twitter among others. Studies have shown that Facebook is the most popular of these sites, with monthly visitors in excess of 122 million (Ellison 2007). Many people have taken advantage of this growth, and adverts have become permanent fixtures of the sites. This is as the marketers and producers make efforts to link up with their consumers, following them into the internet. Many activists have also taken advantage of this development, creating pages and profiles that champion their cause.

Given the popularity of these sites especially among the youths, social scientists have conducted researches aimed at unearthing the importance that various communities place on them in terms of their practicality. It has been found that different communities and different members of the same community attach varying significance to these sites based on their unique experiences. For example, the sites are more popular in western countries than they are in Africa and other developing nations. As earlier mentioned, the sites are also popular among the youths, especially those aged between eighteen and twenty-five years. This age group has discovered a new way of staying in touch, a new experience that sets them apart from the older generation.

This scenario makes these sights a fertile ground for fighting apathy among the youths. A recent survey that was conducted in Nigeria came up with a very disturbing picture as far as political participation in the country is concerned. In the year 2007, Nigeria had a population of approximately 154 million people. Out of this sheer number, only a measly 38 million participated in the voting process. This is less than twenty-five percent of the citizens. The problem is especially pronounced for the youths. Instead of actively participating in politics, this segment of the population plays a mere spectator role. With the presidential elections just around the corner, the duty of mobilizing them to take part can not be ignored.

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It is important to note at this juncture that political participation, or election for that matter, is not a one-day affair. Many people hold the erroneous view that this process is just the casting of one’s vote during the election. As much as this is true to some extent, it should be noted that this is just part of the process and not the proper. There are a lot of activities that go into the election process. They include registration of voters, formation of public opinion regarding the candidates of the election, and the policies proposed by the various candidates among others.

This project was conceptualized with all these factors put into consideration. The prototype that is the center of the project will make it possible for the youth to participate in these activities from the comfort of their computer. They will register as voters, participate in discussions revolving around the elections and get to join their preferred political parties. The best thing about this prototype is the fact that it will bring together Nigerian youths from all walks of life. This is starting from those who are in the country together to those in the diaspora.

The current tone of politics in the country makes the youth feel disillusioned, discouraging them from participating in them. The major aim of this prototype is to reverse this mentality. It is important for the youth to realize that they are in charge of their destiny, and they have the power to make the changes that they desire to see. They should not be disenfranchised by the current crop of leaders. They should replace them with those who they feel that they can trust to push forth their agenda.

Facebook was chosen by the writer for this project over the other sites due to its relative popularity. It is the site of choice for the majority of the target group, and the ease to use makes it even more attractive. It is a fairly recent addition to the list of social networking sites, been in existence for about five years. This makes it to be easily associated with change, a thing that the youth of this country desires more than anything else.

Objectives of the Project

The major objective of this project is to use Facebook as a reliable means of attracting young citizens to take part in the forthcoming election process in Nigeria. The aim is to increase the number of young adults who are members of political parties in the country. The target population will be able to participate in discourses touching on the election process. This will be achieved by the development of a prototype to this effect on Facebook.

To attain the major objective, the project will be guided by a number of specific objectives. These are as outlined below:

  • Provide a platform for all Nigerians across the globe to be able to join parties, campaign and also register. This is especially so for that segment of the population aged between eighteen and twenty five.
  • To design and develop a prototype that meets user requirements gathered from data analysis.
  • To involve young adults in the governance process such as campaigning and voting and making them realize that voting is not a waste of time.
  • To encourage political parties that involve youth opinions on Facebook.
  • To make the young adults of the country feel like their vote means something and not let them feel alienated from the society.
  • The social networking site (Facebook) will also provide a platform for Nigerians in Diaspora including myself within the same age group to be able to discuss our opinions on the proposed candidates and also join parties through Facebook.

Project Approach

To achieve the objectives of the project, the researcher will make use of two research techniques. The researcher will make use of questionnaires that will be submitted through the e-mail. Interview will also be conducted over the phone. These two tools will be used on Nigerian youth aged between eighteen and twenty five, as this is the target group for the research.

The aim of the above two data collection methods will be to gather information on the major reasons behind the noted apathy among the youth. The information will help in the design and implementation of the prototype that will enable the target group to participate in the elections. The project will proceed through various stages. This will be from the data collection, data analysis, design and implementation of the prototype.

Both qualitative and quantitative data will be gathered through the questionnaire. The participants will be given a choice of answers to choose from. The response will be rated using a likert type of scale. The design methodology employed for this project is the waterfall model. In this method, the various stages that are involved will have to be processed in the right order. It is easier to use this method when analyzing potential changes, and it is also suitable when carrying out a project within a short period, such as this one. The chief limitation of this method is the fact that it lacks flexibility, and this is significant given that it also has a difficulty of predicting all the needs of the project in advance. As such, it becomes really hard to adapt to changes as they are experienced in the course of the project.

The proposed prototype design will have to be implemented in a more user-friendly manner. This will make it easier to be accessed and used by the Nigerians. It will have to be designed and implemented with the end-user in mind. It is important to note that the experiences of the Nigerians are not the same as those of the American, and as such, the prototype has to be adjusted to accommodate the cultural gap between the two communities.

In any form of research that involves humans as subjects, matters to do with ethics occupy a centre stage. This is no different in this project. Ethical issues will strictly be adhered to. The research will follow the guidelines of the British Psychological Society. The participation of the subjects in the project will have to be informed, voluntary but at the same time persuasive. Confidentiality will take priority, and all the participants will be made aware of the fact that they can withdraw from the project at any time without any recriminations.

Structure of the Project

This research will follow the structure outlined below:

CHAPTER NUMBER DESCRIPTION
Chapter One: Introduction Will introduce the project, providing the reader with the background of the same. A brief outline of the project will be provided.
Chapter Two: Literature Review Literature that exists within the domain of social networking sites will be examined, with special focus on Facebook. Political participation of youths in Nigerian politics will also be addressed, together with other issues that the researcher deems to be pertinent.
Chapter Three: Research Methodology The steps that will be followed in achieving the objectives of the project will be laid down. This includes the techniques to be employed in collecting and analysing data, and the justification of the same.
Chapter Four: Findings and Discussions The data that will be collected from chapter three will be analysed. The design guidelines will be supplied.
Chapter Five: Designing the Prototype Will outline the design the design of the proposed Facebook interface. The various facets of the prototype will be explained
Chapter Six: Evaluation The evaluation techniques that will be used to assess the prototype will be described and justified.
Chapter Seven: Conclusion This is a recap of the whole project. A SWOT analysis of the project will be conducted and a general overview of the same given.

Literature Review

Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to analyse and review the data that exists in the field of social networking sites. This will help the researcher contextualise their work, and illumination on various facets in the field will also be availed. In any field, there are studies that have been conducted in the past, and it is important for any new study that is been conducted within the boundaries of the same discipline to be informed by these past studies. This helps the researcher to avoid duplicating studies and projects that have been conducted in the past. The aim of any project is to add new knowledge to the field. This can only be done if the researcher identifies the existing knowledge lacuna, and make efforts to bridge them. Literature review helps in highlighting these lacunas. A duplication of a study that has already been conducted in the field will not add any new knowledge to the same, and as such, the value of the research is lost.

The aim of the literature review in this project is for the researcher to identify past studies that have been conducted here, and to gauge whether a prototype such as proposed has been formulated in the past. The chapter will be divided into two sections. The first section will analyse the state of politics in Nigeria, especially when it comes to youth participation in the same. The second section will deal with social networking sites, and their application in the election process. Efforts will be made by the researcher to relate these two sections to each other, since the project is about youth and politics in Nigeria in the context of social networking sites.

The Role of Youth in Nigerian Politics

Pedus (2009) opines that the need for change in Nigeria is palpable. The mood on the ground is that of desire for change, and it is the opinion of all Nigerians, from the remotest of villages to the biggest of cities, that the time for change is now. The current state of affairs in the country is a silhouette of the state’s former self. This is as opposed to them been clear reflections of the desires of the founding fathers of the nations. Employment especially for the youths is scarce. Even those who have attained the highest education echelons find themselves looking around for jobs that are non-existence. Compare this with how things were sometime back, when government agents used to scout for potential employees from the country’s universities, even before the students have graduated (Pedus 2009). Incandescence and pride of belonging to this nation were constant companions of Nigerian youths. They wore their nationality as a badge of honour, and were confident to declare to all and sundry of their heritage.

The sad state of affairs in latter day’s Nigeria can be squarely blamed on the political class. The ranks and files of our political terrain are packed with old men, some of whom have declared themselves as the statesmen of the various regions. This crop of leaders has voraciously plundered our social, political and economic capital. Majority have dipped their sticky fingers in the wealth of the nations, accumulating it covertly while at the same time alienating the youth from governance (Onuoha 2009). The youth are used as disposable pawns in the complicated and sophisticated game of political manoeuvres in the country. A sense of social, political and economic insecurity has been instilled by our leaders unto the youths, and this makes them easier to control and handle.

However, there is one thing that the youth of this country should realise; the change that they desire will not be presented to them in a silver platter. They have to agitate for it. The form of agitation that is proposed here does not involve taking up arms and attacking the elderly leaders. To the contrary, the youth should realise the potency of democracy, and use it to work for them in advancing and realising the envisioned changes. Nigeria is a democratic nation, despite the picture that is portrayed by our leaders, unintentionally perhaps, to the contrary. Freedom of expression is one of the tenets of such form of governance, and the youth should take advantage of this to express their views and mould public opinions to their advantage (John 2008).

Youths from all walks of life should shed their class and other differences that are harped by the current crop of leaders to separate them. This is the only way that they can come together and form a formidable force, a juggernaut of political might that is going to shape the terrain of Nigerian politics. One means of achieving this is coming together and embedding themselves to existing political parties, or forming ones that will act as their change agent. Youth initiated and supported agenda will be realised. This will lead to a renaissance of the Nigeria we wish to see, and deliver the change that we aspire (Dike 2009).

It is with this possibility in mind that this project was conceptualised. It will act as a launching pad of Nigerian youths to the national politics.

Hope and confidence that Nigerian youths once held as far as the country leadership is concerned has been lost, sacrificed at the altar of greed and corruption by the current leaders (Azaiki 2007). A wedge has been driven between the youth of the country, pitting them against each other courtesy of the leaders. As they are busy fighting each other, the leaders are busy looting the country, secure in the fact that their efforts will go unchallenged. For example, the People’s Democratic Party has come up with a wing that is fashioned for the youths. It is called the People’s Democratic Party Youths Vanguard (Arowosegbe 2009). PDP, as it is popularly known, was the vehicle that carried President Olusegun Obasanjo to power. The 2004 elections were viewed to have been rigged, and PDP was blamed as been the supporter of undemocratic acts (Azaiki 2007). It is in the background of these accusations that the party, as a result of the leaders’ stroke of genius, came up with the idea of the youth wing. The latter, critics held, was an effort to legitimise an illegitimate government.

Advancing Youth Participation in Nigerian Politics

Attempts have been made to integrate this segment of Nigerian population into the mainstream politics. Despite the fact these efforts were noble and genuine to the larger extent; they are fragmented, and lack the force and potency needed to make a dent on the political scene. Pedus (2009) bemoans that Nigerian rural and urban centres are dotted with a collection of non-governmental organisations that claim to champion the interests of the youths, but these bodies stand as autonomous and separate entities from others engaged in the same honourable task. This is despite the fact that most of them might be operating within the same neighbourhood.

But the International Republican Institute, which is one of such bodies working with, among others, the youths, will vehemently refute the claims put forth by Pedus. This group works with political parties in the country, civil societies, women and other groups that it deems to be marginalised, making efforts to integrate them into politics (International Republican Institute 2007). Youth retreats that bring together a battery of leaders drawn from the political arena are held periodically. The aim is to create awareness among the youths as to the importance of their participation in local politics, in an effort to promote democracy in the country.

Other groups are the Youth, Media and Communication Initiative which agitates for the democratic right of the youths to be included in the national politics (John 2008). Youth Action Group and Youngstars Foundation are such other outfits.

Impediments to Youth Participation in Nigerian Politics

Several explanations have been put forth to account for the lacklustre performance of youths as far as politics is concerned. Nolte (2004) is of the view that one of the major reasons is disillusionment. The current president, Musa Yaradua, had initially fashioned himself as an icon for change when he was seeking office (Dike 2009). However, this pretence was shed off as the mask that it was as soon as he ascended to office (Dike 2009). Corruption and impunity have thrived, and youth marginalisation taken root.

Promises that were made to the youths were never fulfilled. The jobs that were promised are yet to be delivered three years down the line, and the youths have grown weary of the wait. In this light, it will be hardly surprising to realise that the number of youths that will participate in the forthcoming elections will plummet. This is unless something is done: Something that will turn this disillusionment into a force of change. This is the enormous task that this project is going to undertake. It will tap into the youth potential, and turn their anger into an agent of change in a positive manner.

It is a fact beyond doubt that youth literacy has improved over the years in the country. But still, a lot needs to be done in this area. A survey conducted in the year 2004 by UNESCO found that fifteen percent of Nigerian youths are illiterate (Nolte 2004). Perhaps it is as a result of this that John (2008) puts down illiteracy as one of the causes of youth apathy in politics. To actively participate in politics, it is important for one to have the basic skills of reading and writing. This is the only that they will be made aware of their rights to participate in politics. Lack of this makes it possible for the youths to be brainwashed and easily influenced by the old politicians, who aspire to use them to attain their selfish political ends. Due to illiteracy, it becomes really hard for the youth to interact with other people and exchange ideas and opinions concerning politics. From this, generation of public opinion is hindered, and the illiterate youth cannot influence the politics around them.

The Growth of Facebook as a Social Networking Site

As earlier stated in the paper, Facebook is a fairly new addition to the ever growing list of social networking sites. It was founded and incorporated as a private company in 2004 by youngsters from Harvard University (Eldon 2008). Ever since, the site has grown and surpassed others such as MySpace to emerge as the top social networking site around the globe. By December 2009, five years after inception, the site had about 350 million users around the world (Kazeniac 2009). The figure below best portrays the number of active Facebook users around the world as of 2008, and this number has greatly increased ever since. The aim of this figure is to paint a vivid picture of the rate of growth that this site experienced within such a short time:

 Facebook Active Users
Figure 1: Facebook Active Users

The site is open to users who have a valid e-mail account, and who are above the age of thirteen years (Eldon 2008). After registering, a user is allowed to create groups that are in line with their professions and interests. The number of such groups per user is set at around 200 (Laura 2007). This is a great number by any standards, and it is as a result of this that the site has emerged as one of the most important instruments of exchanging information and ideas on the internet.

The site has weathered a fairly large number of complaints, majority of which have to do with privacy issues. This is not surprising, given that it is a socialising site, and as such, people will crave for privacy as far as those they are socialising with are concerned. These concerns have led to the technicians at the company to give the user an option of making their profiles visible to the public, or to a chosen few (Phillips 2009).

The users are not required to pay any subscription fees. The site generates revenue solely from advertisements placed by marketers around the globe (Phillips 2009). The advertising takes the form of “banner adverts”, and Microsoft has been appointed the sole partner to serve these adverts by Facebook (Phillips 2009). This means that Facebook can only carry adverts that are to be found in the inventory of Microsoft. The amount of data that is collected by this site from visitors who frequent the site is considerable, and this makes it perfect for advertisers seeking to reach out to a specific target group.

Facebook Features

Social network sites are some of the fastest changing facets of the information and communication technology industry. They have to change in order to accommodate the rapidly changing demands of the consumers. Facebook has not been left behind. Since the inception of the site, several changes have been carried out on the site. They involved ramification of already existing features or the introduction of entirely new ones.

One of these notable features is the “Wall”. This is a space that is to be found on the profile page of each and every user (Kazeniac 2009). This feature makes it possible for friends to post messages meant for the user. The messages posted on the wall, depending on the privacy status preferred by the user, are visible by every person on Facebook or by the user’s friends only. Another feature of the website that is popular with the users is the “Status”. It allows the users to post opinions and ideas that they would wish to share with their friends. Again, depending on the privacy preference of the user, the status updates are visible to the public or to selected individuals.

On August 22, 2006, Facebook introduced perhaps one of the features that will be very important to this project. This is the Facebook Notes (Eldon 2008). It is a blogging feature that allows the users to interact with the rest of the Facebook community by posting tags and embeddable images (Eldon 2008). The prototype will make use of this feature, where notes will be posted concerning Nigerian elections, and the members will be able to comment on them.

Facebook also allows users to chat with their friends who are online. This is another feature that will be very crucial to the project. Users will be able to invite their friends to join the Facebook page that will be created. As such, one way of promoting the site will be word of mouth, whereby online users are able to chat with their friends and tell them about the page.

Facebook in Africa: A Case Study of Nigeria

Facebook has been a success in the US and other western nations. However, it is making inroads in Africa, and the rate at which it is been adopted in this continent surpasses that of the other countries in some regions.

According to Faizbash (2009), there were less than 40,000 Nigerians on Facebook in the year 2007. Today, the number stands at around 215,000. This is according to Facebook SocialAd utility, a facility that tracks the progress of adoption around the world. This, according to Faizbash, is an increase of 432% in a span of two years (2009).

The adoption of this network in Nigeria can be put down to the increase in number of phones and internet connectivity around the country (Anifowose and Babawale 2008). Many phones come with an inbuilt internet feature that allows users who were hitherto unconnected to the internet to access it now.

However, the number of Nigerians connected to Facebook is just a small percentage of the population. In a country with more than 140 million residents, the number of people on Facebook is a mere 0.152% of the population (Faizbash 2009). The reason for this is because more than 90 percent of the population have no access to the internet. Only ten million people had access to the internet as of June 2008 (Faizbash 2009). The table below indicates the rate of internet connectivity in Africa as of 2008:

Africa’s Internet Connectivity
Figure 2: Africa’s Internet Connectivity

In May 2008, Faizbash (2009) reckons that the number of users in the country stood at 68,260. Two months down the line (July 2008), the growth was forty six percent, and the number was now 99,720. This is an indication of the fact that people in Africa, and especially in Nigeria, are embracing Facebook and internet connectivity at a very high rate. The number of unique visitors to the site is also increasing, and by the end of the year 2008, approximately 42,000 unique users were returning to the site on a daily basis in Nigeria (Okwechime 2009). This I according to Google, and their findings are presented in the table below:

Number of Facebook Unique Users in Nigeria
Figure 3: Number of Facebook Unique Users in Nigeria

Nigeria, Facebook and Politics

The political class have realised the potency of Facebook in Nigeria, and they have started to put into use in achieving their ends. This is evidenced by the number of political pages that have been created on Facebook, all revolving around the forthcoming general elections or other peripheral issues. A case in point is “Buhari Organisation” and “El-Rufai for Nigeria”, which are rooting for the candidates to take the presidency come April 2011 (Ologbenla 2009). Other groups that have been formed using the Facebook “Cause” application include “Cause for Good Governance in Nigeria, which already has more than 6,500 members (Faizbash 2009). Others are Nigerian Youth Initiative which has 689 fans (Faizbash 2009).

Research Methodology

Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to furnish the reader with information pertaining to the steps that were foll0owed by the researcher when they were collecting data. The techniques and tools that were used will be illuminated, together with justifications for the same. The researcher was interested in information pertaining to the apathy that is found among Nigerian youths, and from this, the viability of the proposed prototype will be gleaned. The information will help the researcher in designing the prototype, since they will have insightful knowledge on the needs of the youth that were not previously met, and which acted as a hindrance to their political participation.

Sampling Procedure

The researcher made use of two sampling techniques. These were stratified and snow-ball sampling techniques. Stratified sampling was used to identify the first few respondents, while snow ball was used to reach out to additional ones.

Ten youths from Nigeria were identified through sampling by stratifying the Nigerian population into age groups (Hunt and Tyrell 2004). Eighteen to twenty five years is the stratum that was used for this project. The ten youths met the criteria that were set by the researcher for this project (Hunt and Tyrell 2004). This included age (eighteen to twenty five years), nationality (Nigerians), access to internet and Facebook users, high school and college students among a plethora of other traits.

Snow ball or chain sampling involved asking the ten respondents to give referrals of others who met the set criteria (Heckathorn 2002). The referrals that were made by the initial ten were also asked to give more referrals. This trend continued until the sample was large enough for the purpose of the research.

Sample Size and Sample Characteristics

All the activities that have been identified above (revolving around sampling) were conducted over the internet. A sample size of 100 respondents was attained. This included forty five females and fifty five males. Gender balance was not given a lot of weight since the researcher was not interested on the differences between men and women as far as the responses were concerned. The assumption was that opinions, attitudes and responses were not affected by the gender of the respondent; rather, they were affected by other factors such as age, level of education and exposure to Nigerian political system.

Though the study was to be conducted in the context of Nigerian political landscape, youths in the diaspora were also included in the sample. The research was more concerned with the nationality of the respondent, as opposed to their physical location.

There were some concerns to the effect that the project is using a very limited age group in the study, hence locking out other users who would have benefited from the research. There were some calls from peers to increase the number of years so that the study will address youths between the ages of eighteen to thirty years. This is because there is a common belief in the society that defines youth as those people who are aged between eighteen and thirty five. However, given the fact that the research was well under way when these concerns were brought to the attention of the researcher, no changes were carried out. It was assumed that the findings could be generalised to cover youths past the age of twenty five.

Tools for Data Collection

Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected by the use of structured questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The questionnaires were submitted to the respondents over the internet, to their e-mail address. After the completion of the questionnaire, the respondent submitted it via the e-mail too. The questionnaire was structured, and the respondent was required to make a choice for every question, ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).

After submission, the researcher interviewed the respondent over the phone. The questions for the interview were semi-structured, and allowed the interviewer to follow-up on the responses made. The questionnaire took an average of thirty minutes to complete, while the phone interview took about the same time.

The respondents were asked question regarding their Facebook profiles, and the changes that they would like to see in Nigerian politics. The reasons why Nigerian youths rarely participate in elections were also sought, as was the ways that the respondents believed the youths should be incorporated in Nigerian politics. A copy of the questionnaire is attached in the appendix section.

There were some limitations that were associated with these data collection methods. The questionnaire was structured, and as such, it was hard for the respondents to express themselves through them. Responses were restricted to the given choices. The questionnaires were also required to be completed within seven days. This was significant given that some of the respondents had access to internet once after every two weeks. But they assured the researcher that they will complete the questionnaire within the stipulated time.

The issue of structured questionnaire was rectified by the semi-structured phone interview to some extent. The respondents were able to express themselves, airing their opinions, over the phone. However, the interview was also limited by the fact that majority of the questions asked were derived from the questionnaire. The respondents were not allowed to divert so much from the original questionnaire.

Ethical Considerations

As earlier stated, studies that use human as subjects should prioritise matters of ethics. In this study confidentiality was stressed. Information that was collected from the respondents will not be disclosed to third parties, and will be used solely for the purpose of the research. The participants were informed that they were free to withdraw from the study at any point. These issues were explicitly stated at the start of the questionnaire and the interview. This was to ensure that the decision to participate in the study was voluntary and informed.

Challenges Faced by the Researcher on the Ground

There is no research that has no limitations and hurdles that have to be overcome by the researcher. Some of the challenges are as a result of factors that are inherent in the research itself, factors that the researcher can control. An example is the technique and tools used to collect data. These can be controlled by the researcher by changing them. However, there are some factors that are beyond the control of the researcher, and these have to be dealt with in a unique way. These are for example ethical issues that have to be addressed and lack of co-operation from the respondents.

These limitations are the ones that lead to challenges that are encountered in the field. This study had its own share of challenges and limitations that were encountered on the ground. Some of these are highlighted below:

Limited Time

The time set out for this project was very short. This meant that the researcher was not able to go into details as far as following up the study was concerned. The researcher had to cut back on the study so that it can fit into the allocated time period.

Limited Resources

Also, the resources set aside for the study were meagre. This was in terms of finances meant to cater for expenditures such as stationery, transport and hire of research assistants.

Difficulty in Recruiting Respondents

Some hitches were experienced in the field when it came to recruitment of respondents. This is considering that there was no physical contact between the respondents and the researcher. All correspondence was to be carried out via the internet. Given the fact that cyber crime is rife, especially in Nigeria, the respondents who were contacted over the internet were not eager to give out their e-mail details. A lot of tact had to be used when dealing with potential respondents. Majority of those contacted declined the opportunity to engage in the study.

However, it is important to note that for those who accepted to participate, co-operation was positive. Not a single of the selected one hundred failed to fill-out the questionnaire or to participate in the phone interview.

Ethical Issues

Ethical matters and privacy were major concerns for the respondents. They were concerned that information released via the internet might be accessed by third parties. This was a concern that was shared by the researcher. Likelihood of hacking into the researcher’s system and other forms of security threats were real. This led to heavy investment in cyber security, by installing programmes in the researcher’s system that would make it hard for hackers to access the information. Though the risk was greatly reduced, it was nevertheless likely. Security threat also led the researcher to divert meagre resources meant for the project to those security programs.

Findings and Discussion

Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the findings of the research techniques that were employed to execute this project. As earlier stated, the aim was to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, which was primary in nature. The research utilised two different tools for data collection. These were the questionnaire and phone interviews. However, a demarcation will not be put between the findings of the two methods when analysing and discussing their findings. This is because there is some considerable overlap between these two findings. Some of the questions that were used in the phone interview were derived from the questions and responses that were given on the questionnaire. The findings, after analysis, will inform the designing and implementation of the prototype by furnishing the researcher with design guidelines.

Findings from the Questionnaire and Interviews

The questionnaires were mailed directly to the respondent’s address. The latter was supposed to complete the questionnaire within a week and submit it. Questionnaires submitted after the expiry of the seven days period were to be disregarded. A phone interview was conducted on the same respondent after the completed questionnaire was received by the researcher.

All the respondents (N=100) completed the questionnaire and a phone interview was conducted on them. The findings, though from a significantly small percentage of Nigerian youth, can be generalised to apply to the whole target population.

Use of Facebook as a Social Networking Site

Majority of the respondents were recent additions to Facebook. 68% have been using the site for the past six months, 15 percent for one year and the rest for a period of more than one year. This information supported the claims that were made by Faizbash, stating that Facebook is fairly recent, albeit popular, addition to Nigerian social world (Faizbash 2009).

The average rate of access to the internet within a month was fifteen times. This means that the average Nigerian youth with a Facebook account accesses it at least once after every two days. 48% accessed it on a daily basis. This number was composed of those respondents who were in colleges where internet was connected and those working in offices where it was allowed to access the site. Majority of those who did not access it on a daily basis (n=32) were those who worked in offices where access to the site was denied, or those student who were in colleges where internet was not connected. Majority of the respondents (n=53) accessed the site from their phones, while 25 accessed from their laptops or personal computers. The rest accessed it from a cybercafé, from their office or college.

The main purpose for using Facebook was connecting with friends (n=47). Others were sharing photos (n=23), making new friends without the intention of meting them physically (n=12) and meeting new friends physically (n=11). Majority of the respondents (n=56) belonged to more than two groups and causes on Facebook. The average number of friends was 156.

Reasons for Youth Apathy

Majority of the respondents (n=52) strongly believed that disillusionment was the major reason why Nigerian youth failed to participate in elections. This piece of information supported Pedus’ (2009) claims to the effect that the empty promises of our leaders have made youths shun politics and all activities associated with it, including voting. Other reasons cited strongly include lack of opportunities (n=22), illiteracy (n=14), lack of interest (n=10) and lack of time (n=2). As expected. A negligible number of respondents were of the view that lack of time was the reason why majority of youths shunned politics.

Opinions on Nigeria’s Current Leadership

68 percent of the youth, according to this study, believe that the current crop of Nigerian leaders should be changed. This is because they did not have the interests of the youth at heart, and that there are other better leaders, leaders with potential, out there. This view supported Onuoha’s opinion to the effect that Nigeria is ripe for political change (Onuoha 2009).

As far as youth participation is concerned, 43 percent of the respondents were of the view that youth representatives should be elected in parliament. 34 percent felt that a new party should be created for the youth, while ten percent opined that a civil society should be formed which will act as a platform for championing the interests of the youth. The chart below best captures the responses of the youths to this effect:

Strategies for Youth Political Participation
Chart 1: Strategies for Youth Political Participation

Contrary to what Nolte (2004) believes, majority of the youths do realise that the change that they desire to see in Nigerian politics has to come from within their ranks, as opposed from without. Many youths are ready to take part in the process of shaping the political terrain of the country, and what is lacking is a mobilising factor.

Design Guidelines

After analysing the data, the researcher came up with a set of guidelines that will act as a beacon to the formulation and implementation of the prototype. These are as stated below:

Give the Youth a Voice: It was found that the youths felt sidelined and ignored by the current political class in the country. The proposed prototype should make sure that the youth feel appreciated, and instil a sense of purposefulness and use in them. The only way that this can be achieved is by making it possible for the target group to express themselves through the prototype. They should be let to enjoy and exercise their freedom of expression.

Create a New Experience for the Youth: The need for change and a fresh start was palpable in the responses that were analysed. The youth desire change, and they want to change the ways that have been used in the past to attain changes. The prototype should address this need in addition to been relevant to the user. It should be a new experience, which is exciting to the youth, for engaging in local politics. Young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty five years like moving with the times, and as a result, the prototype should reflect changing times. It should be fashionable and stimulating to use.

Harness the Potency of the Youth: This segment of the population is reputed as been the most energetic, going about life with vigour and vitality. However, their power is prone to been influenced easily. It is very easy to harness their strength either for good or bad. Politicians have been accused of diverting this strength and using it for personal, selfish gains.

The youth have the potential to make the changes needed in the political terrain. But they lack a person and force to direct this potential in a constructive manner. The prototype should step into this void, and act as a wake-up call to Nigerian youth. It should tap their potential, and direct them towards the dawn of anew Nigeria. This would be done by making it possible for them to join political parties and register as voters.

Implications for the Prototype

The results that were gleaned from the data collection techniques provided the researcher with some suggestions that would help the proposed prototype in achieving the goal of making Facebook an effective tool for increasing youth participation in the forthcoming elections. The suggestions thus made are tied to the design guidelines that identified. The following are the implications for the new prototype tied to each of the guidelines:

Giving the Youth Voice: The prototype should ensure that the youth get the opportunity to voice their views and concerns revolving around the forthcoming elections. This will be achieved by having a blogging option on the prototype. In this blog, the members will be able to post their opinions, and hold discussions on politics in the country. The discussions will revolve around the candidates, the parties and the manifestos of each and the implications and viability of the same in the country.

Another feature of the prototype will be to send messages to the users’ inbox. The user can then respond to the message looking for clarifications.

Creating a New Experience for the Youth: The users should be able to indulge in politics in a new and exciting way. Conventionally, politics is associated with political rallies and boring speeches delivered by grey-haired men. Youths find this form of politics un-stimulating, and perhaps that the reason why they do not engage in it.

To reverse this, the prototype will ensure that the experience that the youth will have in engaging in politics will be different from what they are used. This will be done by creating visual stimulations on the prototype. Links to popular culture features such as music, concerts and artist pages will be provided. In a nutshell, the prototype will incorporate popular culture with politics, the youth way.

Harnessing the Potency of the Youth: Creating awareness amongst the target group is beneficial, but benefits are increased many folds when this awareness is incorporated with call for action. The prototype will have a feature where the youths can register as voters, as well as register as members of the various political parties in Nigeria.

Prototype Design

Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to describe the design method that will be employed in coming up with the prototype. The prototyping methods used in the process of developing the new feature would also be addressed. The integration of the design guidelines that were borne out of the data analysis carried out with the creation of the prototype will also be highlighted. The research culminates in the production of a final prototype, and this will be presented here.

The Prototype

The prototype around which this project revolves is aimed at using Facebook as an effective tool to enhance youth participation in elections. As such, rather than proposing a change on the current features of Facebook, the prototype will aim at using the existing Facebook features for political purpose. This will be attained by creating a page on Facebook, which will be interactive in nature. The programming design will revolve around creating the inputs for this Facebook page from the user requirements identified in chapter three.

Design Method

The software engineering methodology that was used in coming up with the system is the waterfall model. This model can be conceptualised as been sequential in nature. The progress, like a waterfall, cascades steadily and methodically downwards (Chapman 2007). This means that the programmer progresses to the next stage after completing all the necessary actions of the preceding one. The programming is carried out in stages, and this allows for content review between these stages. The reviews are significant in that they furnish the programmer with information that is important in controlling the quality of the design and making decisions for the continuation of the project (McConnell 2006). The figure below represents the stages that are followed in waterfall design method:

Stages in Waterfall Methodology
Figure 3: Stages in Waterfall Methodology

The major strength of this methodology is that bugs detected early in the design (for example in the requirement specifications) can be fixed at a relatively cheaper cost in terms money, time and effort as opposed to discovering the bug at later stages (Chapman 2007). As such, time spent in the early stages of the programming to perfect them pays off in the later stages. McConnell (2006) is of the view that a requirements defect carried over from the early stages and detected at construction and maintenance stages will cost dearly. The cost will be “fifty to 200 times as much” to fix as it would have cost to rectify during the requirements phase.

But this methodology is criticised for its concentration on perfection of each and every stage. For projects that are of non-trivial nature, it is not possible to perfect one phase of the process before proceeding to the other, and subsequently learning from them (McConnell 2006). For example, consumers may constantly change their requirements, even after the programmer has been through with this stage. In this case, it becomes very hard to accommodate the changes thus specified (McConnell 2006).

Using this methodology, the programmers for this interface progressed through one phase of the project at a time. Evaluation was carried out at the end of each phase, and it is only after perfection has been attained did the programmers progress to the next stage.

Prototyping Method

The prototyping method that was used to create the Facebook page was evolutionary prototyping. It is also referred to as “breadboard” prototyping, which is structured in manner and refined constantly (Sommerville 2000). As such, the prototype will form what Thomson (2009) calls “the heart of the new system”. The Facebook page prototype will form the heart of the final page that will be created after the prototype is refined. Improvements and further requirements as deemed necessary will be carried out on the prototype to come up with the new system.

The end result was an interactive prototype. This is a more useful form of a prototype, and it represents actual paths that will be followed by the end-user in consuming the new system (Thomson 2009). In this project, the programmer combined the visual aspects of a static prototype with a considerable degree of interactive functionality.

It was easier to come up with the interactive prototype given that it was a Facebook page that was been created. All that the programmers needed to do was create content for the page, including links to other sites that were deemed to be of interest to the target group.

The programmer concentrated on the web, together with incorporation of user-friendly features.

Interface Design

The Facebook page will be named “Nigerian Youth 2011”. The following are some of the features that are to be found in this page:

The “Wall”: This is like the homepage for this site. The administrator will have the ability to post comments on the wall, just like the way personal profiles are updated. The members will be able to comment on the posts, and in effect, create a discussion. The figure below is a prototype of the homepage or “wall”:

NIGERIAN YOUTH 2011
Figure 4: “NIGERIAN YOUTH 2011”

On the far-right side of the home-page is a slot for a profile picture. The picture that will be put there must be recognisable by all youths in the country. For the prototype, a picture of the national flag was to be displayed.

The blank box labelled “what is on your mind?” is the one that the site administrator will use to post comments and opinions. Below the profile picture is an option for promoting the page through an advertisement. The advertisement will appear on other Facebook sites, and the administrator has to pay for this it. It is proposed that the site will be advertised in an effort to popularise it on the internet. There is also an option to upload photos on the page, together with links to other sites.

The information regarding the page will be filled out by the administrator. The outlook for the information page will appear as depicted below:

Information Page
Figure 5: “NIGERIAN YOUTH 2011” Information Page

The contact details of the site administration will be provided. These include e-mail address, contacts and the website of the group. Members will have the option of starting their own discussions on the discussion board. After the user posts their comments, others are allowed to comment on it.

Sending Messages to Members: The site will be marketed mainly by advising the members to recommend it to their friends. The group will be open to all Nigerian youths who are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five years. All Nigerians youths, regardless of their physical location, will be eligible to join the group.

To keep in touch with the members, the group will be sending messages to their Facebook inboxes on a regular basis. The messages will be information regarding the developments taking place in the political front. The aim is to keep the members updated on events unfurling on the ground.

Voter Registration: The page will have a feature through which members can register as voters and as members of their preferred political parties. This will be made possible by requiring the members to submit their details, including identification and age. Eligible members will be able to register as voters in the forthcoming general elections.

Links to Other Sites: It has been noted that the best way to get a point across to an audience is by contextualising the same in a manner that is in line with the experiences of the target group. This way, the audience finds it easy to identify with the message. “Nigerian Youth 2011” will utilise the same concept. Links will be provided in the page to other sites that are of interest to the audience. These include entertainment and artists’ blogs among others. The aim is to make the site more interactive and user friendly.

Evaluation

Introduction

The overall interface was evaluated after it was created. The researcher in this chapter seeks to explain the techniques that were used in this evaluation. The data was then analysed to determine whether the needs of the target group were met. Changes will be made accordingly, so that the page is user friendly, interactive and an effective way to mobilise Nigerian youths for 2011 elections.

It is important to note that experiences of Nigerian users are considerably different from those of western countries. As such, it was important to gauge whether the page content reflected this variation effectively. The prototype was evaluated by the researcher who developed it with the assistance of the initial respondents who were used in the study.

Evaluation of “Nigerian Youths 2011” Facebook Page

As earlier stipulated, the researcher was not concerned with altering the features of Facebook as they are currently. Rather, the aim was to utilise the current features in making Facebook an instrument of mobilising youths for participation in 2011 elections. In this background, evaluation was conducted on the page, and not the entire Facebook site.

The prototype was functional, and this made it possible to gauge user interaction. The users evaluated the web page by actually clicking on the buttons and scrolling through the contents. A questionnaire was developed by the researcher to gauge the views and opinions of the selected users. This questionnaire was different from the one that was initially completed by the same respondents, as it was gauging the efficacy of an already existing interface rather than gathering information on a proposed one. Semi-structured interviews over the phone also followed. The collection of data at this stage was remarkably similar to that which was conducted in chapter three.

Evaluation Results

Evaluation Results from Questionnaires

Like in chapter three, the questionnaires for this evaluation were completed and submitted online. The respondents were given access codes to the page, from where they were able to browse the contents and the features. After browsing, they were asked to follow a link from the page, which would lead them to the online questionnaire. They filled this questionnaire before signing out.

The questionnaire was to be filled by rating a collection of expressions on a scale of one to five. One represented “strongly disagree” while five represented “strongly agree”.

The responses from the questionnaire were positive to a larger extent. The users were satisfied with the page content, the ease of navigation and the ability of the members to start discussions. Of particular interest to the respondents was the ability to upload photographs and link to other interesting sites from the page.

But there were some reservations expressed by the respondents. They were of the view that the political issue was not given enough weight on the page. Rather, the administrator was more concerned with entertaining the youths, as opposed to educating them politically. More political content was asked for.

Evaluation Results from Semi-Structured Interviews

After submitting the completed online questionnaire, respondents were interviewed through the phone. They were asked for detailed comments on the prototype, the features and overall experience. They were also asked what they would like to see changed on the page. The aim was to find out whether user requirements have been met.

The results pointed to the fact that the page is a potential tool for mobilising youths to take part in elections next year. Reservations from the phone interview included, just like in the questionnaire, the desire to have more political content on the page. The respondents also expressed the desire to have politicians who are beyond twenty five years posting their opinions on the page, so that users can discuss them. This will act as an interaction platform between the youth and the leaders. The leaders will be brought to task by the youths, and hopefully, will take them into consideration as they formulate their agendas for the elections.

Conclusion

Introduction

The major aim of this chapter is to summarise the whole project for the reader. To this end, the researcher will first give a summary of the actual project, whereby the main points and milestones will be highlighted. The aim of every research is to make a contribution to the discipline or field within which it is conducted. The contributions and benefits that this research had on the field of information technology and especially social networking sites will also be highlighted in this chapter.

Serendipity is a feature of many studies conducted in the academic field. This is whereby the researcher comes across findings that were not intended for when the research was formulated. Some of these findings can be addressed in the research, but others cannot be satisfactorily addressed by the same. This been the case, future research areas are proposed from the study. In this chapter, the researcher is going to provide the reader with suggestions as to the direction that future studies should take. Issues that should be addressed in future studies are provided for in this section.

The experiences of the researcher as far as carrying out the study is concerned are very important. They give insights as to the changes and benefits that were accrued by the researcher as a result of carrying out the study. These experiences will be highlighted in the personal reflection section.

A Summary of the Dissertation

The researcher embarked on this research with the aim of coming up with a prototype that would turn Facebook into an effective force that can be used to encourage Nigerian youths to participate in the country’s elections. The reason why Facebook was chosen was because it is one of the most popular social networking sites in Nigeria, and it is accessed by many of the country’s youth.

Youth apathy as far as Nigerian politics-and especially elections-are concerned acted as the impetus for this project. The researcher identified an existing problem, and sought to address it using information technology solutions. The aim was to come up with a prototype of a Facebook page that will mobilise the target group of Nigerian youths aged between eighteen and twenty five to participate in the forthcoming elections.

The first step was to collect data pertaining to the reasons behind youth apathy and proliferation of Facebook among the youths. First, the researcher conducted a literature review to familiarise themselves with information that exists around the issue. Respondents were then identified and data collected from them. The data sought to illuminate the requirements of the youths as far as political participation was concerned. Existing needs were identified, and these informed the creation and implementation of the prototype.

The project assumed a waterfall methodology, whereby the designers of the prototype had to go through the process following clearly defined steps. Progress to the next step could only be conducted after the preceding one has been completed and perfected. The prototype design that was adopted was the evolutionary one. This is where the steps followed in the design of the prototype build into the next one. The aim is to make the prototype heart of the final project.

Using the above mentioned path, the researcher came up with an interactive form of prototype. The Facebook page was created and the users who evaluated it were able to interact with it on an actual basis, as opposed to interacting with a simulation of the final system.

Evaluation was carried out on the prototype to gauge the extent to which the needs and requirements of the user were met. The evaluation was carried out by the researcher with the help of a hundred respondents. Questionnaires completed and submitted online were used, coupled with semi-structured phone interviews. Proposals as to the changes that should be carried out to make the Facebook page a complete success were made. The end result was a prototype of a Facebook page that was named “NIGERIAN YOUTH 2011.”

Contributions of the Research

Reservations have been expressed to the effect that majority of studies carried out on the practical use of social networking sites have concentrated too much on the western societies, especially United States of America (Chapman and Lahav 2008). Little attention has been given to how these sites have been used in Africa for any other purpose apart from social networking. This ignorance is significant given that these countries are embracing these sites at a far higher rate than the western societies.

This research focused on a very important attribute of these sites, especially Facebook, in Africa. It provided information as to ways that Facebook, and in extension other social networking sites such as twitter can be used to achieve practical purpose in African communities. Specifically, the project highlighted how the youth, the major consumer of these products, can be mobilised to participate in community matters using these sites.

The findings of this research are not only significant to Nigeria. They can be extended to other African nations where youth apathy is reported. Rather than viewing social networking sites as foreign elements in these societies, a practical use can be derived out of them (Boyd and Ellison 2008).

Future Research and Development

This research identified some areas that would benefit considerably from future research and development efforts. First, the research found that a considerable number of youths are embracing social networking sites more than ever before. Given that this is a recent phenomenon in the region, the researcher proposes studies to gauge the effects that this development has on the culture of the region. The findings from this research can then be utilised by software programmers to come up with prototypes that would harness the combined potential of youths and technology to develop Africa. For example, prototypes could be created where users can be educated on a wide range of field, from importance of elections and healthy diets.

Studies should be conducted in other African countries to compare the effects of these sites on the community, and especially the emerging adults. In turn, these results could then be compared with the effects in other countries such as America and Asia. A comparative study would then be compiled to identify how these sites can be adopted to reflect the unique experiences of each region.

SWOT Analysis of the Project

There were some limitations that were encountered by the researcher in the course of carrying out the study. These included constrained resources, both in terms of finances and time. The project was carried out with a moderate budget, and the time set-out was short, hardly enough to come up with a comprehensive study.

Despite these limitations, there were some developments that made the study a success. These included the co-operation of the respondents, given that all the identified respondents were willing and eager to participate.

It is in the backdrop of these limitations and opportunities that the researcher was able to come up with a SWOT analysis of the prototype.

Strengths

These are features inherent to the project and which can be exploited to make it a success. These include the user-friendly aspect of the prototype. It is easier for the users to manoeuvre and browse the Facebook page that was created. This will make it possible to attract more and more youths, making the site a force to reckon with. Another aspect is the features of the site. They have been specifically created with the end-user, the youth, in mind. They include entertainment and links to other exciting web pages.

Weaknesses

These are also features inherent to the project that act as potential distractions and derailments of the same. In this project, they include the limited ability of the site administrator to alter the contents and features of the page to suit the individual purpose of the project. The project had to do with the existing features of Facebook to come up with the page. It was not possible to alter Facebook to come up with a site that had more background colours and such other features that would have attracted the target audience.

Opportunities

These are aspects that are external to the project and which are beyond the control of the same, but which can be harnessed to further the goals of the project. One of them is the pace at which Facebook is been adopted in Nigeria. More and more youths are adopting the technology, especially given the fact that it can now be accessed from web-enabled phones. This been the case, the project has the potential of reaching out to a wider audience. Another feature is the need by the youths to see change in the country. The project has been conceptualised in a time when more and more youths are waking up to the realisation that they need to be more involved in the country’s politics to bring the changes desired.

Threats

These are factors that are external to the project and beyond the control of the researcher which can lead to the derailment of the project. Such a feature is the lack of internet connectivity in Nigeria. Many villages and even urban centres have no access to internet. Many people do not have internet connectivity in their homes. For those who cannot afford web-enabled phones, this means that they are not able to access Facebook, and hence the page, on a regular basis.

Despite the fact that many youths are now adopting politics, it is important to note that majority of this segment of the population still consider politics as the preserve of the old and the elite in the society. They regard themselves as external elements to the activity. With this mentality in prevalence, it will be quiet hard for the project to make the desired impact on the youth. First, this mentality has to be changed before the success of the project can be assured.

Bibliography

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Azaiki, SS 2007, Inequities in Nigerian politics: The Niger Delta, resource control, underdevelopment and youth restiveness, Ibadan: Y-Books, 102-198.

Boyd, DM and Ellison, NB 2008, “Social networking sites: Definition, history, and scholarship”, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13(2), 205-208.

Chapman, CN and Lahav, M 2008, “International ethnographic observation of social networking sites”, Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 3123-3127.

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Appendix 1: Structured Questionnaire

Introduction

It has been found that most Nigerian youths do not participate in the country’s politics, especially the elections. It is out of this realization that it has become important to identify the reasons behind this, and how it can be rectified. This is significant considering the fact that about a year from now, Nigeria will be holding another presidential election. The aim of this study is to come up with a strategy that will make sure that youths participate in these elections.

The study proposes to come up with a prototype that will use Facebook as a vehicle to make youths participate in these elections. Information regarding lack of participation by the youths in elections will inform the design and implementation of this prototype.

Your honesty and time in filling out this questionnaire will be highly appreciated. Privacy and confidentiality of your responses will be ensured.

Thanks in advance.

Section 1: Personal Information

  1. Please state your age _______
  2. Please state your sex _____
  3. Occupation _____
  4. Residence _____

Section 2: Information Regarding Facebook

  1. For how long have you been on Facebook? _____
  2. How often do you access your Facebook account within a month? _____
  3. What is your main purpose of using Facebook? _____
  4. How many groups and causes do you subscribe to on Facebook? _____
  5. How many friends do you have on Facebook? _____

Section 3: Information Regarding Political Participation

To answer the following questions, please use numbers 1-5. Please answer all questions.

  1. strongly disagree
  2. disagree
  3. undecided
  4. agree
  5. strongly agree

Question 1: The following are some of the reasons why youths do not participate in elections in Nigeria:

  1. Lack of interest _____
  2. Lack of opportunities _____
  3. Illiteracy _____
  4. Disillusionment by the current leaders _____
  5. Lack of time _____

Question 2: The following are my opinions regarding the current state of Nigerian politics and leaders:

  1. I like our current leaders _____
  2. I would like to see the current leaders changed _____
  3. The political leadership is concerned with the affairs of Nigerian youths _____
  4. The political leadership is not concerned with the affairs of the Nigerian youth _____
  5. The future of this country is secure in the hands of the current leaders _____
  6. I believe there are other better and capable politicians out there than our current leaders _____

Question 3: I believe the following are the changes that need to be carried out in Nigerian politics:

  1. Replace the current leaders with a set of new and fresh ones _____
  2. Involve youths more in Nigerian politics _____
  3. Replace the current set of political parties with a new one _____

Question 4: the following are the ways through which youths should involve themselves in Nigerians politics:

  1. Create a new party for youths _____
  2. Elect youth representatives to parliament _____
  3. Create an affirmative action to have a set number of youths in parliament _____
  4. Elect old politicians who have the interests of the youth at heart _____
  5. Recruit more youths in existing political parties _____
  6. Create a civil society that will act as a platform for championing the interests of the youth _____
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YourDissertation. "Using Facebook as a Reliable Means of Attracting Youths to Politics." February 14, 2022. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/using-facebook-as-a-reliable-means-of-attracting-youths-to-politics/.

References

YourDissertation. 2022. "Using Facebook as a Reliable Means of Attracting Youths to Politics." February 14, 2022. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/using-facebook-as-a-reliable-means-of-attracting-youths-to-politics/.

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YourDissertation. (2022) 'Using Facebook as a Reliable Means of Attracting Youths to Politics'. 14 February.

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