Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Human beings are, as they say, social animals. Our connection to others is a big part of how we define ourselves. Whether it's family members, friends, coworkers, church groups, fan groups, or other groups, we like to know what other people are doing, thinking, or saying, and we like to share our own deeds, thoughts, and statements.
For some, social media is primarily that: a means of keeping in touch with friends and family and connecting with like-minded individuals outside of one's immediate geographical sphere. For others, social media is more of a spectator sport: seeing what other people are saying and doing but keeping one's own counsel is the primary purpose.
Many people use social media for news and information gathering, a habit that may or may not be a reasonable means of becoming or staying informed. Social media can also be a giant exchange of humor and entertainment, with people volleying memes back and forth and occasionally going viral on account of this or that trenchantly witty observation.
Social media rankles some, and soothes other. One individual may deliberately stir up a hornets' nets by ranting about politics, while the next may be sharing tips about personal style, or shopping, or fixing a lawnmower. A select few attract enough attention from others to make performative social media a professional career.
Where do IT professionals come into all of this? That's something we ask about each year in the Salary Survey. Not in a global, philosophical sense. We just want to know where IT professionals literally go to engage on social media. That is to say, what app or platform is their primary point of connection?
We ask the question two ways, since many individuals who participate in social media have either a casual, personal profile, or a serious and deliberate professional presence. Some have both. This week, we're reporting on the habits of those who engage on social media to get away from work (and other responsibilities).
Here's what we learned:
Q: Which social media platform do you use most for personal engagement?
I don't do social media. — 14.7 percent
Facebook — 36.9 percent
Instagram — 14.5 percent
LinkedIn — 13.5 percent
Twitter — 8.5 percent
Reddit — 4.0 percent
Pinterest — 3.0 percent
TikTok — 2.8 percent
Other — 2.1 percent
First off, we'll point out that there is a core group of IT professionals who don't find social media engaging, or relaxing, or entertaining, or whatever. They either never got involved, or they've fled the scene. It's also probably worth noting that social media companies are generally considered IT companies, and many of the people who work at those companies decry their own products, particularly when it come to whether or not they are suitable for children.
Among those who do partake, Facebook is easily the most popular option for anyone seeking personal engagement, more than doubling the level of interested represented by the next competitor in line. And since the next competitor in line is Instagram, which is owned by Facebook parent company Meta, it could fairly be said that Mark Zuckerberg has won the battle for the hearts and minds of IT professionals, at least when it comes to casual social media use.
LinkedIn is notably popular, and when we circle back to this topic next week to report where survey participants engage to serve their more practical, career-driven interests, LinkedIn will probably resonate even more strongly. That leaves Twitter bringing up the rear among major social media hotspots that have the biggest footprint among certified IT professionals.
Reddit, Pinterest, and TikTok are basically fighting for the scraps. And there is a tiny segment of those surveyed who seek personal engagement on social media, but don't prefer any of the options we laid out. We invited them to tell us what they do prefer, and WhatsApp is clearly our biggest blind spot, though there were scattered votes for the likes of Discord, WeChat, Telegram, Kakao, and Snapchat.