The Adoption and Usage of Smartphone Media Technologies as A Source of News by Egyptian University Students

The Adoption and Usage of Smartphone Media Technologies as A Source of News by Egyptian University Students

Hamza Saad Mohamed Saad (Zayed University, Dubai, UAE &Minia University, Minya, Egypt)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCRMM.2019070103
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This study examines the adoption and use of smartphones as a source of news by Egyptian university students. The study was applied on a random sample of 400 university students, whom already have smartphones. This study was guided by the uses and gratification theory to explore the use of smartphones among university students as a news resource. The study used quantitative research methodology in the form of a survey. Information was collected using a self-administrated questionnaire between March 2018 and April 2018. Findings showed that although Egypt is not one of the oil-rich countries, most of the university students are heavy smartphone users and the vast majority (87.5%) of them are accessing news via their smartphones. More importantly, the findings revealed that university students mainly used smartphones to get general information (47.5%), Egypt's news (37.5%), entertainment (29.25%) and follow world's news (27.75%). Finally, findings showed that (70%) of students use their smartphones to follow current affairs, while 67.5% said that smartphones helpe them to communicate with their friends.
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The growing popularity of mobile phones worldwide has gained attention and became a significant topic of interest among scholars from disciplines including communication, sociology, natural sciences, and political sciences. According to Yelton (2012) mobile phone is a worldwide phenomenon that crosses socioeconomic boundaries and is used for instantaneous communication and Internet access. Oscar (2014), wrote the role of mobile devices among current news media institutions around the world has become increasingly noticeable, and there is further evidence that the uptake of accessing local, national and international news via mobile devices certainly has increased over the last few years in the Arab World. Oghogho (2015) indicated that the growth of the mobile phone has been driven by the communication needs of people around the world, with the resultant transformation in human communication and interactive relations in society. In Egypt, mobile phones are widely used, and young people have emerged as among the most excited adopter of this new technology. It has been observed that young Egyptians spend more time on social media that on any other activity in their life. In 2018, the number of smartphone users in Egypt reached 26 million, and could reach almost 29 million by 2019, an increase of 3.15%, according to a report by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (The Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology 2018). Likewise, Essam, (2016) confirmed that the importance of smartphone usage was clearly expressed, particularly in Egypt, in what is called “The Arab Spring”, where such devices were described as the most important ways of communication by numerous groups inside and outside Egypt (p.72). In the same direction, Duffy (2013) concluded that the smartphone covered the Arab spring in a way traditional media simply couldn’t. It is not surprising, then, that Egypt offers a good case-study of what is happening with smartphones in one of the most populous countries in the Arab World, Africa and the Middle East, with a 2018 estimated population of 100 million based on the latest United Nations estimates. This widespread use of smartphone in Egypt offers a range of new research opportunities in the field of social media. Hence, the current study aims to investigate the perception and usage behavior of smartphones by university students in Egypt and the usage of smartphones as a news resource and the gratification they experience. This study was guided by the uses and gratification theory.

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