Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using social media for professional purposes – does it pay off?

08.12.2015

Can social media successfully be used for professional purposes? Business networks such as LinkedIn promise their users career success by providing “access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do”. But is this really the case? And can other social media also lead to informational benefits? Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz (Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, IWM Tübingen) found that especially users of professional networks such as LinkedIn report higher informational benefits than non-users. It also matters how people use the respective social media platforms.

Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz studied whether social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) users can retrieve professional informational benefits from social media use. Professional informational benefits are defined as receiving relevant work-related information timely and being referred to career opportunities by one’s network – important predictors of career success.

A survey among a representative sample of Dutch online users was conducted. Among the 1959 working people, 76% used Facebook or another social network site for private purposes, 32% used LinkedIn or another professional network, and 18% used Twitter or another microblogging service.

The results of the study, which recently appeared in the journal New Media & Society, found clear platform effects: LinkedIn users reported significantly higher professional informational benefits than non-users. The same pattern, albeit to a weaker extent, was found for Twitter users whereas Facebook users reported lower informational benefits than non-users did.

Just having a profile is not enough. For all three types of social media platforms, frequency of posting work-related content and strategic networking, i.e. adding potentially important people as contacts, predicted professional informational benefits. Thus, both the content and the composition of the online networks matter. Frequently reading what others posted mattered only on LinkedIn.

“Professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing are explicitly designed for professional purposes. Most of the communication there is work-related; the chance is thus higher that people encounter relevant information than on Facebook” says Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz.

It is also important with whom users talk. Business networks make it easy to stay in touch with close friends and colleagues (so-called strong ties), but also with former acquaintances or people one has only met once (so-called weak ties). The study showed that the number of strong ties and the number of weak ties on LinkedIn predicted informational benefits.

Thus, the study found support for both: sociological theories stressing the importance of weak ties, and work in organizational settings showing that people prefer to turn to their strong ties because they trust them more.

The study thus shows that social media use can result in professional informational benefits. However, users should follow this advice: Use professional networks rather than Facebook, talk about your work, and strategically select your contacts!

The study is part of the ERC-Starting Grant project ReDefTie (Redefining tie strength – how social media (can) help us to get non-redundant useful information and emotional support). The researchers examine the effects of social media use. Based on the results, recommendations on how to use social media for specific purposes can be derived.

Link to the study (open access):
http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/10/15/1461444815604143

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz, Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Schleichstraße 6, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany. Tel.: 0049 7071/ 979-308, E-Mail: s.utz@iwm-tuebingen.de

The Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien

The Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM) in Tuebingen analyses teaching and learning with digital technologies. In a multidisciplinary environment, around 80 scientists from cognition, behavioural and social sciences work on solving research questions concerning individual and collective knowledge acquisition in media environments. Since 2009, the IWM and the University of Tuebingen jointly run Germany’s first Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus “Informational Environments”.
Internet address: www.iwm-tuebingen.de

Contact & further informationen about the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien
Dr. Evamarie Blattner, press and public relations
Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Schleichstraße 6, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany. Tel.: 0049 7071/ 979-222, E-Mail: presse@iwm-tuebingen.de

The Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association connects 89 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the federation and the federal states, employing some 18,100 individuals, including 9,200 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.64 billion EUR.

http://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/home/

Dr. Evamarie Blattner | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Leibniz Leibniz-Institut LinkedIn importance media use social sciences

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>