Monday, June 23, 2008

Is the rise of social media leading to Workplace 2.0?

A new study by Universal McCann (referenced first by MediaPost, then Jaffe), says that social media is surging in popularity among that magical 18-34 demographic. In fact, UM found that 85% of this group says that they use one or more Web 2.0 platforms to communicate with others.

The study also found that the percentage of this group that publishes blogs doubled in the last year, up from 5% last year, to 10% now.

Graeme Hutton, senior vice president-director of consumer insights at UM, gives his theory on the increased publishing and reading of blogs among this group:
We think that's do to the increased use of social networking, and blogs are an integral part of using them. Two years ago, asking people about blogs, people were shaking their heads. I think now it's taking off because social networks are taking off. RSS feeds, which make reading blogs easier, have become an integral part of the way people communicate and exchange content. People may have been doing it before, but may not have realized it. Now they're recognizing it for what it is.

Not sure I completely buy that, but socnets are definitely a factor in the increase of blog readership, esp among the 18-34 demo.

Yet what's most intriguing to me is what impact this group's rising social media use will have on the businesses they currently, or will soon work for. Seems Naomi is thinking along these same lines. Let's be honest, so much of the reason why businesses aren't embracing social media is due to ignorance, and a fear of change. It's easy to dismiss these social sites and tools as being fads, when you've never actually used them.

But as more companies hire workers that are fluent in these tools, likely replacing ones that were not, we'll start to see the cultures at these companies change dramatically. It's much easier for a company to consider these social tools, when their employees are already using and talking about them internally. Ignorance will give way to understanding, and that transformation will lead to social media being seen as a viable way for companies to connect and communicate with their customers.

Companies like Dell give us a glimpse of what can happen when social media internally transforms a company's culture. My guess is the average corporate workplace culture of 2013 will be significantly more open to social media than it is today. The hires that are made between now and then will play a great part in this internal transformation.


Anonymous said...

Good post Mack. I don't know that business cultures will change because of new folks coming into the workforce, as cultures usually represent leadership's actions not worker's profiles. However, I do agree that communication tools will change, as they always have with new technology and new worker knowledge.

Anonymous said...


This transformation cannot come soon enough. I fear, though, that IT departments still have many companies stuck in a vice grip of FUD.


* The head of social media at a very large company told me recently that her firm doesn't allow anyone to have Web access outside of the company's corporate home office. That's over 100,000 employees.

* My wife's employer allows Web access, but actively clamps down on any Web usage "outside business norms." Her silly husband once had the temerity to ask her to access his gmail account to find an account number. Five minutes after she tried to access gmail (and was promptly denied), the head of IT *walked out to her desk* and lectured her.

The question really is when are these corporations going to stop treating their employees like children?

Michael E. Rubin, Blog Council
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I am a GasPedal employee and this is my personal opinion.