Millions of people lost their jobs because of the global financial crisis. In 2012, the unemployment rate in the United States was 8.1 percent while 10.8 percent in the European region. Because of the unfavorable economic situation, it is hard for many people to find a new job, which is stressful and affects their social life.
Moira Burke of Facebook and Robert Kraut of Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University teamed up in conducting a study among Facebook users regarding the advantage of social networks in helping individuals cope stress and find new employment.
Burke and Kraut examined how communication online with strong and weak social ties play down the impact of job loss on stress, how communication with social ties is linked to changes in social support, and finding a new job by conducting a survey with approximately 3,000 Facebooks users for three months. They studied the behavioral data including the social support, social capital, stress, and employment status of the users. According to them, the sample in the survey is composed of 169 people who lost their jobs
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The study found that people with weak ties traveling is diverse social circles will likely find information about new job opportunities from external resources. According to Burke and Kraut, Motivated job seekers who put more time and effort into the networking aspect of their job search—tapping their informal connections for information—are more likely to find a job and receive more offers. Many job leads arise from “serendipity,” simply talking tothe right acquaintance at the right time.”
On the other hand, they emphasized that strong ties may be more beneficial for job-seekers in some circumstances. According to them, “While weak ties may provide more novel information about job openings, strong ties may be more willing to wield their influence on behalf of a close friend or relative.”
The study found that 33.2 percent of the respondents with strong ties believed that they could find a job within three months while people who talked more with their weak ties believed they are less likely to find a job.
In his blog, Burke explained that people with weak ties do not receive information about job openings on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) because conversations on the social network are more personal in nature. He said, “People may not reveal their employment plight to contacts they don’t feel close to.”
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s research did not evaluate the type of topics discussed by the respondents with their ties. The social network giant is currently doing a follow-up study to find out which friends are most helpful in helping them find a job.