Purpose– The purpose of this study is to describe the usage of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) by the faculty members of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), at the College of Basic Education, the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET), Kuwait. Design/methodology/approach– A survey conducted to collect data from 33 faculty members of whom only 21 members were using SNSs, representing 63.6 per cent of the total sample, and 12 members were not using SNSs, representing 36.4 per cent of the total sample. This study revealed that SNSs are used moderately by the faculty members. Findings– This study showed that faculty members who were using SNSs tend to be males, aged between 41 and 50 years, PhD holders, ranked as assistant professors, full-time members, specialized in information technologies with a relatively new experience of teaching ranged from one to five years, and most of the faculty members who were not using SNSs tended to be also males, aged between 41 and 60 years, PhD holders, ranked as lecturers, full-time members specialized in organization of information with a teaching experience ranged from 16 to 20 years. More than half of the faculty members were using SNSs for three years to less than six years, and a large number of them were using SNSs several times a week and were accessing these sites more from their school office, home and school laboratory. There are no any statistical significant differences between the demographic data of participants (gender, age and education level) and either their use or non-use of SNSs. There are no significant differences between the academic rank, teaching status and teaching experience of faculty and their use of SNSs. However, there is a significant relation between the faculty’s area of teaching and their use of SNSs. Faculty members were interested in the use of SNSs. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blogs respectively were used mostly by faculty members, but Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were the most famous SNSs they have profiles on. Faculty members have adopted SNSs mainly for the purpose of communicating with others, finding and sharing information with peers and students as well. Tasks on SNSs made by faculty members were mostly to make communication, send/receive messages and find general and specific information. Faculty members’ profiles on SNSs were mostly on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, wikis and podcasting respectively. Faculty members confirmed that the use of YouTube, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, wikis and podcasting respectively was at least effective and the use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Wikis respectively was at least fairly useful fairly easy to them. Faculty members are in general agreement about the effectiveness of SNSs especially for disseminating and sharing information, communication and informal collaboration. The study showed also that there is no gender-related difference among the faculty in terms of their usage of SNSs. The study revealed also that the time was the most important barrier both SNSs users and non-users faced at PAAET’s SLIS. Other barriers like trust about SNSs, training and skills were significant to SNSs users in this study, and barriers like interests in SNSs, awareness of them and trust about them were respectively the most important barriers to SNSs non-users. The study recommended that a further research is needed to examine more additional aspects of using SNSs among faculty members that may affect their use like the technical, legal, ethical and intellectual aspects. More information is needed to investigate why some faculty members do not use SNSs especially for educational purposes. A qualitative study of the perception and opinions of faculty members would provide much important data about that. A further research is also needed to specify the relation between the use of these sites and each area of study separately. Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge about the use of SNSs, shortage of language skills and training, this study recommended that SNSs non-users should be provided with necessary assistance to foster their skills towards such usage. A future study is needed to compare experiences of faculty members and students regarding the use of SNSs in educational practices and may look at how communicational uses of these sites have influenced educational uses. Research limitations/implications– This study involved a single and certain academic institution, namely PAAET. Therefore, findings, conclusions and recommendations may not be applicable and reasonable to be generalized on all Kuwaiti academic institutions. Social implications– This paper provides valuable insight into the usage of SNSs by a very important client group. Originality/value– This study is the first one of its kind conducted about the usage of SNSs by faculty members at a library school of one of the two public academic institutions in the state of Kuwait to examine and investigate more specific information about SNSs and related innovative topics.
The Electronic Library – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2015