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Social Media at the Core of Masters Degree Research

April 23, 2015

Mr Kambale Muhongya was awarded a Master of Commerce degree.
Mr Kambale Muhongya was awarded a Master of Commerce degree.

Master of Commerce graduate Mr Muhongya Kambale investigated how social media could be used to improve communication and solve ethnic group problems in institutions and organisations.

His study factors into influencing the translation of Facebook friendship into real world friendship provides valuable insight into how social media is being used as a communication tool to bridge the social division gap.

As Data and Information Manager of UKZN’s Information Systems and Technology, Kambala is totally up to speed with developments in the digital space.

‘Being from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I never thought about racial issues until I came to South Africa and experienced them,’ said Kambale. ‘I also realised that most people use social media for friendship, so I made this my focus. I said to myself, if people are using social media such as Facebook then it could be easy for them to search for people from other ethnic groups and befriend them.

‘I conducted research to determine to what extent language, race and gender impact on the translation of Facebook friendship among students. The results show that the vast majority are likely to convert Facebook friends into real world friends if the Facebook friends are considered trustworthy. This transformation is moving very slowly due to a lack of trust. So it was interesting that I came to realise that the information that people trust has power over people yet people have power over such information. It just depends on how they handle it. The question is what is it that people are choosing to trust? This influences the way they think about others,’ he added.

Although juggling work and studying required a delicate balance, Kambale said his passion for Information Technology and a need to progress academically made this qualification worth pursuing.

‘Many people think if you study toward a Masters or PhD degree then you can only be an academic but I don’t look at it that way. A Master’s degree allows an individual to be able to deal with any kind of challenge and find solutions to it in any kind of organisation,' he added.

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