The research of 2,851 Australians, conducted by psychometric testing company Onetest, is one of the largest studies tracking the life outcomes of graduates.
Onetest Head of Psychology Cherie Curtis said the company surveyed people who had undertaken cognitive ability tests as part of a graduate recruitment program between 2002 and 2011.
“We’ve been exploring the outcomes of people who had entered the workforce and investigated the influence of their cognitive ability on life satisfaction, salary and career progression,”
“Because social media is such a huge part of people’s identities and lives, we added questions about their social media preference and usage.
“We found that, while LinkedIn is often thought to be the tool of professionals, those who preferred Twitter were also those with the highest cognitive abilities.”
Cognitive ability is a person’s overall ability to acquire, retain, organise and apply information. A relatively unchanging measurement, it is widely used in recruitment because it is generally accepted as a strong predictor of future work performance.
Within the sample of graduates, Onetest found that only 4 per cent of respondents listed Twitter as their preferred social media channel.
“However, these respondents had a higher average cognitive ability than other participants in the study who preferred LinkedIn.”
Ms Curtis said some of the characteristics of Twitter, such as its immediacy and pace, could explain its appeal to bright thinkers.
“To really engage with Twitter requires lateral thinking and attention. It’s an ever changing, information sharing platform and does require a greater degree of attention, concentration and the ability to retain, organise and apply information,”
“And to drill down a complex thought into 140 characters or fewer requires problem solving skills and clarity of thought.”
The Onetest study found that Facebook was the most preferred social medium, followed by LinkedIn, but there was no statistically significant difference between the average cognitive abilities of users other than Twitterers.
Full findings from the study – including influences on career success, money and life satisfaction – are available in the Onetest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2012.