mobile icon

Vocational benefits of work-related social media use

Everyday Media
FundingDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Project description

More than half a billion people worldwide use professional social online networks such as LinkedIn. The objective of this DFG-funded project is to learn more about the positive effects social networking use provides for knowledge workers. The project thus contributes to the practice fields knowledge work with digital media and internet use.

Professional social online networks promise their members access to contacts and information and, as a result, increased job performance and career opportunities. Their pervasiveness shows that workers indeed expect benefits from using these networks. However, only few empirical studies have investigated the actual professional benefits of using professional social online networks for workers in the short and long term.
Members of professional social online networks get the opportunity to exchange information and ideas on these platforms. They primarily do so via status updates and posts – messages that are visible to many other members of the network. Most messages on social media are only skimmed and not read attentively. However, regular skimming of such messages is by no means useless, but can help to develop so-called ambient awareness, an awareness of who is doing what and who knows what in the network. Based on preliminary work from the ERC project ReDeftie, we conducted a series of experiments to test how work-related information about others on social media is processed. These experiments provided evidence that people spontaneously pick up on others’ domains of expertise when aimlessly browsing through their social media posts.
In a large prospective measurement burst field study, we furthermore examine the temporal dynamics of different types of work-related social media use and their benefits. First results suggest that while posting work-related content appears to result in more immediate benefits, the benefits of regularly reading social media content seem to unfold over a longer timescale.

  • Dr. Ana Levordashka, Department of Psychology at University of Bath (United Kingdom) 


Anderl, C., Levordashka, A., & Utz, S. (2024). Ambient awareness of who knows what: Spontaneous inferences of domain expertise. Media Psychology, 27, 329-351. Open Access

Anderl, C. (2023). Feeling guilty about browsing social media at work? SPSP, Character & Context Blog.