Use, Perception and Attitude of University Students Towards Facebook and Twitter


  • Kevin Johnston
  • Mei-Miao Chen
  • Magnus Hauman


Keywords: Attitude, change, Facebook, perception, students, Twitter, use


Abstract: As social computing systems persist over time, many elements such as user experience, perceptions, attitudes and interactions may change. Facebook and Twitter are two social computing systems that have become increasingly popular among university students. This research replicated previous studies by Lampe, Ellison and Steinfield (2008), and Johnston, Tanner, Lalla and Kawalski (2013) to assess how Facebook and Twitter use, perception and attitude have changed among university students. Because online social networks, social networking sites and micro‑blogging sites are relatively new as areas of academic research, there is limited research into the impacts of these social networking and micro‑blogging sites. A sample of 486 students from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa completed a survey. The results were then compared to research data from previous studies by Lampe et al. (2008) and Johnston et al. (2013). The results showed that the percentage of students using Facebook increased to 95%, Facebook daily usage and the number of Facebook friends doubled from previous surveys. This results also found that the South African students are more dependent on using Facebook, in comparison to using Twitter; that their perception of Facebook privacy has led to a decrease in personal information shared on Facebook as well as a change in audience perception. The data also shows that UCT students perceive friends and total strangers to be their main audiences on Twitter; the attitude of UCT students towards Facebook remained positive, on the other hand, a less positive attitude was experienced from the students using Twitter; and Facebook is a more popular method for communication between students. The results clearly highlight the changes in usage, attitude and perception of Facebook over time, and provide a starting point for assessing how usage and attitude to Twitter may change. The results also suggest that should therefore make use of social networking software such as Facebook and Twitter both in their personal lives, and in



1 Oct 2013