The Use of Social Media Among Public Relations Students in the UAE

The Use of Social Media Among Public Relations Students in the UAE

Hamza Saad Mohamed (El-Minia University, Minia, Egypt and Zayed University, Dubai, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCRMM.2015040102
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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine public relations (PR) students' use of social media in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A total of 200 undergraduate public relations' students participated in the study. This research is an attempt to shade some light on the patterns of social media uses and purposes of uses by public relations students in the UAE. It also explores public relations students' attitude towards social media. The study uses quantitative approaches for research methodology. Results indicated that students use social media for friendship and entertainment purposes than educational purposes. Additionally, WhatsApp is the most used social media application, while Facebook came in low level among public relations students.
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Introduction

Despite many revered media and public relations scholars (Camilia et al. 2013; Ezumah, 2013; Junco,2012;White,Sallot, Porter & Alzuru, 2004) have conducted various extensive studies on the use and diffusion of the social media as a public relations medium, little research (Luttrell, R., 2012), has been conducted to assess public relations students use and perception of social media. Research about social media has grown enormously over the last few years. Some of the most important areas of social media research include online adults use social network sites, with Facebook as the most popular, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter and Instgram. Many media scholars (e.g., Bortree & Seltzer, 2009; Junco,2012; Diga & Kelleher, 2009; Kent, 2008 ;) suggested that social media tools have dramatically changed the media environment. The increasing availability of the Internet and smart devices has enhanced the accessibility and attractiveness of social media (Kellerman, 2010; Redfern, Ingles, Neubeck, Johnston, & Semsarian, 2013).The number of adults around the world using social network sites (SNS) such as MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter has increased every year (Ross et al., 2009; Pew reports, 2011). For example, approximately two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit a social network or blogging site, resulting in ten percent of all time spent on the Internet. In 2015, Face book had over 1.450 billion active monthly users, WhatsApp had over 700 million active monthly users, and Instagram and Skype each had 300 million active monthly users worldwide the time spent on these sites is growing at more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth (http://www.statista.com/statistics).

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