Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



In this article, we report on a phenomenological study that explored the use of mobile social media by 21 undergraduate students registered at the Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria, to support their academic-related information needs and activities. Furthermore, in the study, we attempted to acquire an understanding of why these students seem to prefer using their mobile devices and the ways in which their use of mobile devices affect their academic-related information seeking. Following an explanation of what social media entails, the discussion focused on the ways in which information-behaviour elements such as context, the user’s inner person and information needs affect users’ information-seeking, searching and collaborative activities on social media. Also, mobile social media seems to distract social media users’ attention. A semi-structured interview schedule was employed to collect data from 21 students representing different year groups. The findings revealed that the convenience of using mobile social media and the ease with which the students could access information made social media a preferred platform for information-seeking and transfer purposes. However, the participants admitted that retrieving academic information on their mobile devices was difficult.