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Social SIOP

8/2/2017-

by Barbara Ruland, SIOP Communications Specialist

New Survey Sheds Light on Members’ Social Media Use

SIOP has been involved in social media for several years, having created its Facebook page in September 2009 and a LinkedIn group soon after. The first Twitter post was in April 2011 followed by a YouTube account. The organization has even created its own social media platform with my.SIOP.

In recent years, the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) and the SIOP Content Initiative (SCi) taskforce have been working with the SIOP Administrative Office to engage with SIOP members and help them use social media more widely.

Tiffany Poeppelman, a member of the SCi taskforce, said that although there are growing communities of SIOP members on various social platforms, we know little about their activities.

“We’ve never quite understood why members engage on social media platforms or not,” she said. “We’ve also never understood what SIOP members look for regarding online professional development or professional practice.”

In April 2017, nearly 1,300 SIOP members took a short survey to help the SCi taskforce in their quest to understand members’ social media preferences. Other task force members involved in the creation of the survey were Evan Sinar, Bo Armstrong, Nikki Blacksmith, and Jess Thornton.

The social media survey asked SIOP members about their engagement strategies and preferences as they responded to questions on:

  • Social media and related platforms most engaged with, either for professional or personal use
  • How members engage on social media
  • How often they engage on social media in a professional manner
  • Open-ended comments about the most valuable and least rewarding outcomes of time spent on professional use of social media

Social media platforms included in the survey were Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Discussing the results, Poeppelman pointed out that each media platform provides a unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

Sinar added, “Members can use the results to craft an efficient social media strategy that works best for them.” 

SIOP committees can also use the results to help them in communicating with members. In terms of SIOP’s various membership affiliations represented by survey respondents, practitioners were the largest group at 45%. 24% of respondents were academic members, and students accounted for 31%.

Respondents indicated their length of affiliation with SIOP as follows:

  • 0 to 4 years - 43%
  • 5 to 9 years - 18%
  • 10 to 19 years - 19%
  • 20+ years - 20%

Initial findings, as shared in the June 2017 issue of Newsbriefs, showed that only 7% of survey respondents do not use social media at all. Other research on the general population shows that 69% of Americans use social media.

Poeppelman said that despite wider adoption of social media, many SIOP member don’t see the value of time invested.

“This survey is a step toward giving them the data they need to make evidence-based and peer-informed decisions about whether and how to spend time on social media,” Sinar explained.

Member responses to open-ended questions about the “Most Valuable” and “Least Rewarding” outcomes from members’ social media use are shown in the two images below. In these representations, the larger words are more frequently used, and the frequency with which words are connected is indicated by the width of the lines.

Most Valuable Outcomes Least Rewarding Outcomes

While some of the results confirmed commonly held understandings about social media use, there were a few surprises in the results.

According to Poeppelman, one surprise was that “longer-term members were more likely to use Pinterest and YouTube for professional-only purposes.” Read about the other surprises in the in-depth survey findings report scheduled for the upcoming Fall 2017 edition of The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist.

The social media survey is just one of the initiatives undertaken by the SCi Team since it was formed in the spring of 2016. Late last summer, the group launched the SIOP Program Explorer, a visual, exploratory dashboard to provide insight into the thousands of sessions presented at the SIOP Annual Conferences since 2008. 

The SCi Task Force also spearheaded the addition of presentation social media statements for the 2017 Annual Conference and worked with the Administrative Office staff to share those messages on SIOP’s Twitter account in the weeks leading up to the conference.

Connect

Connect with the SCi team on Linkedin