The Preferred Social Media Platform used to communicate among University Students in Dubai

The Preferred Social Media Platform used to communicate among University Students in Dubai

  1. Introduction

Social media has gained prominence over the years all over the world. The ease of access to the internet has been among the major contributors. Social media platforms are dedicated towards community-based interaction, input, collaboration and content sharing. To some people, it has become difficult to live without social media since it has become part of their daily activities. In United Arad Emirates, over 50% of the population is active on different social media platforms (Dwivedi 2016). People have varying preferences when it comes to choosing these platforms. In UAE the top three most used social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The purpose of the research is to identify the most preferred social media platform used to communicate among university students in Dubai. This requires the collection of data from students attending universities in Dubai. The research questions will include: Which social media platform has been embraced by most University students in Dubai for their communication purposes? What are the reasons that have prompted students to prefer this platform compared to the others that are out there? Will this social media remain viable and appealing to students in the near future? The knowledge gathered while at Murdoch University will prove beneficial while trying to conduct the research. Having written different papers in the past will help in gathering the most appropriate resources. The honours supervisor is the ultimate audience for the research. The tutor will play an exceptional, role in ensuring that the paper is in a favourable condition before it is presented to the honours supervisor. Google Scholar and Murdoch University library portal will be used for conducting secondary research. This will compliment the primary research to help to help come up with conclusive data.

  1. Personal Experience and Perspective

My time at Murdoch University has provided me with the opportunity of refining my research skills. This has been made possible through the assignments that I have encountered in different courses. The assignments have created the need for learning various concepts that have been helpful in finding information on varied topics. I have gained knowledge on the things that I ought to focus on, and the types of resources to use while conducting academic research. Learning how to locate the relevant resources has been made possible by my presence at the University.

However, this is the first time I am indulging in the development of a literature review. This does not ineluctably mean that I am limited in the area of conducting research since I have handled some projects that have helped me grow in this array. A good example is the business plan that I did for Majid Al Futtaim community malls regarding their marketing unit. There was a need for extensive research before the composition of the plan.

  1. Research Topic and Field

The objective of the study is to analyse the preferred social media platform among University students in Dubai for communication purposes. The research will extend in identifying why a particular social platform has gained more prominence in light of other platforms being available.

  1. Locating Research Literature

The references used to develop the literature review have been derived from Google Scholar and find it, which is powered by Murdoch University’s library portal.

  1. Literature Review

Social media entails “web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information” (Acar 2014). It is more of a collection of online communication channels that are dedicated towards community-based interaction, input, collaboration and content sharing. The prominence of social media has grown over the years in all the countries. This has been mostly attributed to the ease with which people can now access the internet. Based on the activities that people conduct through social media, it has become part of their life hence difficult to live without (Dwivedi 2016). The evolution of mobile phones has also played a significant role in extending the usage of social media. Phones being manufactured in the modern era have a variety of attributes that make it easy for people to use social media. Majority of the people that use social media are below the age of 30 years. Looking at a country like United Kingdom, the population is 64.1 million. 89% of this population consists of active internet users. From this population, 38 million actively use different social media platforms. 50% of the population tend to use mobile phones to access social media. Since 2014, the country has experienced 4% growth with regards to active internet users. This has seen a 6% growth in the people that use social media and 7% increase for the people accessing social media through phones (Valeriani and Vaccari 2015).

In the United Arab Emirates, 95% of the population has access to the internet. Internet statistics indicate that UAE is among the largest consumers on matters relating to social media.  More than 50% of the country’s population is active on various social media platforms (Dwivedi 2016). The increasing number of expatriates and Emiratis (especially in Dubai) has contributed to increase in social media usage as they have to maintain contacts with friends and family. They also gain the ability of being in touch with the latest trends in the world.  In the United Arab Emirates, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the most preferred social media platforms. Facebook is the most common platform with 46% of the internet users. With Twitter, 30% of the internet users have embraced the platform. Instagram on the other hand commands a 25% following (Dwivedi 2016). Facebook enables its users to upload videos and photos, keep in touch with colleagues, family and friends and send messages. Twitter on its part enables the members to relay short posts known as “tweets”. Instagram on the other hand, is more of a photo and video sharing platform.

These demographics seem to transcend among university students in Dubai. In addition to the above social platforms, Snapchat also seems to be on the rise among university students in Dubai. However, the limitation of some of its features in the UAE has been a stumbling block in its adoption. This social media platform, had its call feature blocked in the country. This is because Voice over Internet Protocol has emerged as a regulated activity in UAE. This is why Whatsapp calls and Apple’s FaceTime are not an option in the region. Not being able to utilize all the features of a social platform might be a hindrance to its widespread usage.

Facebook has remained as the most preferred social platform among the university students in Dubai since its emergence.  There are various reasons that make it favourable among the university students. Among them is that Facebook helps them in fulfilling their communication needs and wants. It is a convenient platform that accords users the opportunity of staying connected with family and friends, through the user’s own time and rate (Sponcil and Gitimu 2013). Users have the ability to regulate their interactions by choosing when they desire to read and respond to varied issues.

The principal reason that most university students believe is the driving force towards using Facebook, is maintaining relationships with acquaintances that are within their social network. Most of the students here try to maintain existing relationships rather than cultivate the desire to meet new people (Hollenbaugh 2014). This ensures that there is knowledge of what one’s acquaintances have been doing over the period when face to face interaction was limited. Students also find Facebook to be a favourable platform for entertainment and passing time. There are those days when time seems to be stagnant based on a student’s to do list. The video and photo features found on Facebook provide students with fascinating experiences. There are numerous funny videos that are posted on a daily basis. Some of the videos are also very educative and inspiring depending on the pages that they come from. These videos tend to go viral since they are shared widely. This increases their probability of being visible on numerous accounts. When it comes to photos, there are different “memes” doing rounds. They usually revolve around current issues that have been portrayed in a cynical manner (Jong et al. 2014). Such aspects are favourable for passing time and deriving a form of entertainment.

Keeping in touch with friends and family is also fairly easy and convenient while using Facebook (Sponcil and Gitimu 2013). Although students communicate with family and friends by way of posting content, they also view information without initiating any form of interaction. These activities that involve reading other people’s news feeds, profiles or examining photographs were practised frequently by most respondents of a study conducted in 2009 (Pempek et al. 2009).  Participants in this study reiterated that Facebook helped them find out about activities and social events regarding other users. This brought some form of gratification since the platform enabled them to feel as being part of a peer network that keeps them informed.

Students also believe that Facebook gives them the opportunity of interaction amid their tendencies of being shy. There is improvement of friendships when they communicate with people that they cannot meet face to face at the inception of a relationship (Baker and Debra 2010). Facebook helps in development of confidence since they get to learn several things about these people. Following other people’s posts, photos, videos, activities and events also helps in identifying what they like. It becomes easier to approach them with this knowledge in mind. A study examining a correlation between friendship quality of shy people and social media, indicated that social platforms provided shy individuals with a comfortable environment where they could easily interact with others (Baker and Oswald, 2010).

There is no adequate literature on the exact topic revolving around social media platforms among university students in Dubai. Much of the research conducted previously revolves around the United Arab Emirates in general. This is the segment with more quantifiable data regarding preference for social media platforms. This is an indication that there is need for increased quantitative and qualitative research regarding the usage of social media platforms among university students in Dubai.

  1. Research Questions/Hypotheses
  2. Which social media platform has been embraced by most University students in Dubai for their communication purposes?
  3. What are the reasons that have prompted students to prefer this platform compared to the others that are out there?
  4. Will this social media platform remain viable and appealing to students in the near future?

Hypothesis 1: Facebook is the most preferred social platform among university students based in Dubai since it has the highest percentage of users compared to the other platforms.

Hypothesis 2: Students prefer this platform due to its ease of use and convenience. It helps maintain connection with friends and family, acts as a source of entertainment and passing time, makes it easy to follow events and activities, helps improve friendships for people that are shy with initial face to face interactions and acts as a source of viable information through access to different Facebook pages.

Hypothesis 3: Facebook will remain viable and appealing to students in the coming years. In the past, people have predicted the death of this platform in the emergence of new social networks, but that has not come to pass. The company involved with the platform keeps making changes to the platform to help it retain its appeal among users.

  1. Research Purpose and Audience

The aspiration of this research is to find out the preferred social media platform used to communicate among university students in Dubai. This will require collection of data from students attending university in Dubai. The study will go further in trying to assess why the specific social media platform has gained prominence ahead of other social media platforms used by the students. Trying to find out whether the platform will remain viable in the foreseeable future is also a relevant issue in the study.

The audience for this study is the honours supervisor from the institution. The tutor will provide guidance along the way regarding what ought to be done for the completion of the paper. This is meant to ensure that the paper is in a favourable condition before it is presented to the honours supervisor.


  1. References

Acar, Adam. 2014. Culture And Social Media. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Baker, Levi R., and Debra L. Oswald. 2010. “Shyness and Online Social Networking Services.” Journal of Social andPersonal Relationships 27(7): 873-89.

Dwivedi, Yogesh K. 2016. Social Media the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. S.l.: Springer International Publishers.

Hollenbaugh, Erin E., and Amber L. Ferris. 2014. “Facebook Self-disclosure: Examining the Role of Traits, Social Cohesion, and Motives.” Computers in Human Behavior 30: 50-58.

Jong, Bin-Shyan, Chien-Hung Lai, Yen-Teh Hsia, Tsong-Wuu Lin, and Yu-Syuan Liao. 2014. “An Exploration of the Potential Educational Value of Facebook.” Computers in Human Behavior 32: 201-211.

Pempek, Tiffany A., Yevdokiya A. Yermolayeva, and Sandra L. Calvert. 2009. “College Students’ Social Networking Experiences on Facebook.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 30(3): 227-38.

Sherburn, Abigail. 2013. “Forging Friendships Through Facebook”. The Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 32 (6).

Sponcil, Megan, and Gitimu, Priscilla. 2013. “Use of Social Media by College Students: Relationship to Communication and Self-concept.” Journal of Technology Research 4.

Ryan, Naomi, and Susan Hopkins. 2013. “Combining Social Media and Career Development Learning: An Intensive Tertiary Preparation Programme for Disadvantaged Youth.” Australian Journal of Career Development 22(3): 107-111.

Valeriani, A. and C. Vaccari. 2015. “Accidental Exposure To Politics On Social Media As Online Participation Equalizer In Germany, Italy, And The United Kingdom”. New Media & Society 18 (9): 1857-1874.


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