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Social media activity: its impact on career-related perceptions

Kimberly W. O'Connor (Organizational Leadership, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Kimberly S. McDonald (Organizational Leadership, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Brandon T. McDaniel (Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Gordon B. Schmidt (Organizational Leadership, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 11 October 2021

Issue publication date: 29 August 2022




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.


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.


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.


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.



Funding: The Organizational Leadership Department at Purdue University Fort Wayne funded this study.Conflict of interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


O'Connor, K.W., McDonald, K.S., McDaniel, B.T. and Schmidt, G.B. (2022), "Social media activity: its impact on career-related perceptions", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 1-3.



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