Social media activity: its impact on career-related perceptions


The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine individual perceptions about the impact that social media use has on career satisfaction and perceived career benefits. We examined whether informal online learning through “typical” types of social media behaviors (e.g. liking a post or messaging another user) and “networking” types of social media behaviors (e.g. endorsing another user, writing recommendations, going “live,” or looking for a job) impacted career-related perceptions.

Design/methodology/approach: In this study, we analyzed Amazon Mechanical Turk survey data gathered from adult participants (n = 475). We focused our inquiry specifically on two social media sites, Facebook and LinkedIn. We asked participants about their social media use and behaviors, as well as their perceptions of career satisfaction and career benefits related to social media.

Findings: We found that both typical and networking types of social media behaviors positively predicted the “knowing whom” career competency (defined as career relevant networks and contacts that individuals use to develop their careers) and career satisfaction. Only networking behaviors were positively associated with perceived career benefits of social media use. We further found that LinkedIn users’ career satisfaction was lower compared to non-LinkedIn users.

Originality/value: This study adds to the small, but growing body of career research focusing on social capital and social media. Our results suggest that informal online learning via social media may have a positive impact on employees’ career-related perceptions.

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Development and Learning in Organizations

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