Pandemic of fear or Disease: Processing and adoption of Social Media Information on COVID-19 among Elites in Nigeria
This study focused on the processing and adoption of health messages among social media users in Nigeria. It explored the influence of perceived benefits and perceived risks in the processing and adoption of information on COVID-19 on social media among health information seekers in Nigeria. It adopted survey method, with 115 respondents that were recruited through snowball sampling. The participants were particularly drawn from Ilorin, in the North- central part of Nigeria, and Lagos, South-west part of Nigeria. It established that although there were reservations about the information quality on social media among the respondents, there was significant relationship between perceived usefulness (supportiveness) and perceived benefits of information on COVID-19. Essentially, information qualities significantly influence perceived benefits as the regression analysis showed significant relationships between the variables. The study therefore concluded that social media have become an increasingly important information source for risk and crisis communication, particularly during infectious disease outbreaks. Information acquisition and exchange via social media in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic can complicate communication about the disease, as the nature or quality of information available play a significant role in shaping public risk perception or subsequent behaviours.
Keywords: Pandemic, Disease, Social Media, Adoption, COVID-19, Elites, Nigeria.