Facebook for Business? Most Workers Use Social Networking for Jobs

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Sure, Facebook and Twitter may be popular as a way for friends to keep in touch, but is social networking technology also a business tool? Increasingly so, says IDC, pointing to a new survey that says most workers use Web 2.0 technology for their jobs. And that trend leads to new opportunities for technology solution providers.

As businesses look to technology to become more strategic in 2010, employees at those businesses are also latching onto technology—in the form of Web 2.0 and social networking at sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—to help get the job done.

That’s according to a new survey of 4,710 U.S. workers by research analyst firm IDC that shows 57 percent of them use social media for business purposes at least once a week. The research, looking at the intersection of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and collaboration, reveals that "we are entering a time of significant cultural and process change for business, driven by the emergence of the social web," the firm said in a statement.

For IT solution providers and technology resellers, such a trend presents a big opportunity. For example, VARs can provide the technology to mitigate security risks presented by social media applications.

In addition, the strain of using additional applications such as Facebook and YouTube can degrade network and server performance, leading to the need for the assistance of technology solution providers to audit and provide suggestions to fix the issues.

And while some corporations may look upon social media as a fad, IDC views it as a game-changing technology that will affect the way companies do business in the future. It’s here to stay, along with all its problems and opportunities.

"If you look deep into the social business movement, you will see that we are on the brink of a fundamental change in the way businesses interact with customers, partners, suppliers and employees," said Michael Fauscette, group vice president for Software Business Strategies at IDC, in a statement. "Businesses today fall into three camps—the social 'denyer,' the accidental socialite and the socially aware.

"Regardless of where a company falls in these categories, customers' expectations of technologies and the way they interact with suppliers have changed, driven greatly by the social Web," he said.

The survey also found the following:

  • 15 percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported using a consumer social tool instead of corporate-sponsored social tools for business purposes due to the following top three reasons, (1) ease of use, (2) familiarity due to personal use and (3) low cost.
  • The No. 1 reason cited by U.S. workers for using social tools for business purposes was to acquire knowledge and ask questions from a community.
  • While marketers are the earliest and largest adopters of social media, these tools are now gaining deeper penetration into the enterprise with use by executive managers and IT.
  • Software companies will increase their social software offerings significantly as customer demand steadily increases and "socialytic" applications will emerge, fusing social/collaboration software and analytics to business logic/workflow and data.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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