Social media platforms are no longer novel. They have been with us for a while now, and are defining the way communication and collaboration takes place.

Currently, there are over a dozen global social media platforms, specialized in providing specific marketing and information needs to a particular segment of internet users. Some of the social media platforms that are common with internet users in Africa are:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Zoom
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram
  • WeChat
  • TikTok
  • Telegram

According to a report by Hootsuite in 2019, there are 98.39 million internet users in Nigeria. Of the 98.39 million, 54% access the internet daily. According to Statista, In 2018, there were approximately 29.3 million social network users in Nigeria, and this figure is projected to grow to 36.8 million in 2023.

Beyond creating a room for social networking, some of these platforms are fast becoming classrooms for learning. With smartphones taking the lead in the digital market, young people, who are mostly students, have turned to social media as one of the main sources of information.

There are specific platforms, taking the lead in modelling how people learn and connect online.

LinkedIn is specifically known as a platform where career and business professionals connect. With the launch of LinkedIn Learning in 2016, there are now well over 5,000 business, creative and technology courses for LinkedIn users to learn from.

LinkedIn also recently launched a powerful social learning feature, called Q&A, that allows learners to interact and collaborate with instructors and fellow learners in a whole new way. This feature fosters interactive peer-to-peer and learner-to-instructor learning across LinkedIn’s professional community.

Facebook brought some competition to LinkedIn as a career portal with e-learning, with the launch of Facebook Education. The Facebook for Education page was created to bring the world closer together by growing the knowledge economy, through access and equity in educational opportunities for all learners. This page and its connected groups will allow educators to come together to share ideas, explore new ones, and collaborate to tackle challenges.

For individuals in the labour force, learning is important to either grow in their current role or to be considered for a better role. For students, learning provides the avenue to acquire the knowledge needed for academic success.

Social media platforms play an important role in e-learning, offering easy-to-use, relevant, applicable content for its audience, to help them acquire soft skills and knowledge needed for career and academic success.

As the quest for relevant and timely information grows by the second, social media platforms are fast becoming a home for the learning community.

The question to ask ourselves as young people is, what are we doing on social media? Are you having productive engagements, networking and learning on social media or are you putting inappropriate content online and damaging your online reputation?