College students and risk-taking behaviour on Twitter versus Facebook

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13 Scopus citations


The propensity of college students to post content that they know may be unacceptable to future employers or other authority figures has been well established. Yet research on this topic has tended to focus exclusively on Facebook, which is problematic for two reasons. First, many young social media users are shifting away from Facebook and towards Twitter and other services. Second, college students have changed their use of social media over time and may now be more cautious about what they post on Facebook. To address this issue, a survey-based field study was conducted to compare student comfort levels with authority figures viewing their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Specifically, undergraduate business students attending a large university in the midwest of the USA were surveyed about their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Findings indicate that college students are markedly less comfortable with authority figures viewing their Twitter accounts. Paradoxically, a great majority of the study respondents were found to have public Twitter accounts, while only a very small minority have public Facebook accounts. This finding suggests that students perceive less risk on Twitter versus Facebook or that they are writing to different imagined audiences on the two platforms. Implications include the need for further inquiry and an awareness of educators and human resources professionals about students current social media practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-684
Number of pages7
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015


  • College students
  • Facebook
  • Risk-taking
  • Social media
  • Twitter


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