Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is Social Media Where They Are? Hmmmmmm

One of the supporting factors for the use of social media in government and business to communicate with customers/constituents is that the majority of people are using the internet and of those a large percentage are posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, authoring and reading blogs. This number appears to be growing all the time and to include many more than just young people. The new buzz phrase for reaching people is – “go where they are.” So, is social media where they are? In order to satisfy my own curiosity and help decide if I will use my own workplace for my final project, I developed my own anecdotal and unscientific social media survey. The group I used were 28 full-time staff in a variety of departments on the business and finance side of SU. They were mostly well-educated and experienced professionals ranging in age from 30 – 60. All used the internet and email in their daily work. I asked them the questions verbally – no written survey. The questions I asked were -  where they got their news and if and how often they used different types of social media. The results are as follows: 1.  where did they get their news? – Many got it from multiple sources, but 19 still received the newspaper with 10 getting Sunday only. I asked which medium they got most of their news from and 4 got it mostly from the newspaper, 7 from the TV, 9 from the Internet, 1 from Facebook and the rest a combination of TV/internet or TV/radio. 2. which social media application do you use and how often? – 16 had Facebook accounts with 11 using less than once a week, 5 at least once a week; 2 had Twitter accounts but never used them. Only 3 people had ever created a blog; none follow any and 1 person had uploaded a you tube video. I found it interesting because most of my interviewees wanted to talk about this subject and had some relevant feedback. Many saw the use of social media as not relevant to serious work, but as a way to connect with family and friends and maybe some businesses as a consumer. Several people said that they can barely keep up with responding to all their work emails so that adding another layer of communication would negatively impact their ability to complete their work. “I am just too busy doing my job to play with social media.” Others mentioned that they had a lot of privacy and security concerns even with using something like Facebook for communicating with friends. They didn’t really want to have multiple on-line accounts to worry about. From the statistics I had been reading about where people get their news and how many use social media, I was somewhat surprised that so few seemed to reflect those statistics. So, given this climate, I think the task of implementing social media applications would require a lot of education of users of their value and a good well-documented business plan.

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