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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>