Online self-disclosure among students of higher institutions of learning in Ibadan Metropolis, Nigeria
The popularity of social network sites has influenced communication behaviour in a variety of contexts. Thus, this study examined the online behaviour of social media users as regards self-disclosure, motivations and gratifications. The study adopted Social Penetration Theory by Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor and data were gathered through questionnaire from randomly selected 330 respondents and from purposively selected 16 respondents in two sessions of Focus Group
Discussion (FGD) among the students of University of Ibadan and the Polytechnic Ibadan. Although some respondents agreed that relationship management (56.1%) and need for self-expression (60.3%) motivated them to self-disclose on Facebook and Instagram, most disagreed that reciprocity (65.0%), mutual self-disclosure (78.2%), social validation (66.3%) and show off (78.6%) motivated them. Also, most respondents agreed that they sought gratifications from intimate relationship (56.1%), killing boredom (55.4%), seeking people’s opinions (67.3%) and maintaining online conversation (58.0%). However, qualitative data revealed that most respondents were motivated by and also sought gratifications from many of the factors aforementioned for online self-disclosure. Therefore, this study recommended that social media users should be orientated on the proper use of social media as it is obvious that many of them lack the requisite online literacy knowledge; with this, social media users will make use of the platform without risking their privacy.
Keywords: Online self-disclosure, Facebook, Instagram, SPT, Social media users