For many organizations, the issue of social media usage at work often seems to revolve around whether employees waste time mucking about on Facebook. Whilst for many of us here on this site the arguments against this preconception are well known, a little extra ammunition never goes amiss, and the latest comes in the form of The Social Mind, a new piece of research by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR).
The study surveyed 300 professionals and found that by far the most frequent use of social media amongst professionals was interacting with their peers in professional communities.
Key findings of the Social Mind Study include:
- Professionals spend 40% of their time online interacting in peer-based communities, closely followed by interactions with friends (31%), and 13% of time interacting with family online.
- 65% participate to engage with a professional community of colleagues and peers via social media networks.
- 80% participate in groups online to help others by sharing information, ideas and experiences.
- 82% exchange information with professional networks and 78% exchange information online with friends, whereas 37% exchange information with “experts.”
- Nearly 80% of respondents participate in online groups to help others by sharing information and experiences; 66% participate in a professional community of colleagues and peers; 41% participate in groups to be seen as someone knowledgeable.
- For seeking information about companies, nearly 50% of respondents said that visiting company websites was most meaningful, 45% read blogs; followed by microblogging (41%), direct email (40%) and information exchange in online groups or forums (41%).
- Educational information was by far the most frequently shared (61%).
“The findings of this report show how the ‘social mind’ is changing the way we work and play,” stated Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks, and a major contributor to the study.
I still maintain that the best way to convince doubters that social business is valuable is to achieve some early wins, but if executives need convincing even to try a small skunk works project then this research could add to the library of evidence supporting social business.