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November 17, 2009


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Joseph Kingsbury, Text 100

I'm not surprised the results of this study reflect the growing influence of social media. What's more interesting, in my opinion, is what seems to be a more fundamental shift toward collaborative decision-making in professional environments. Certainly social media facilitates that but it strikes me as a deeper shift than technology and communication tools.

For example, the fact that 'younger' and 'older' professionals are heavier users of social tools than their middle aged counterparts may indicate that a) younger people are naturally more familiar with social media (something we've long known) and b) older people have accrued more emotional intelligence (something indicated in past studies on the topic) and, one could argue, use social media as a byproduct of that characteristic.

Were you able to glean anything along those lines about older people specifically during the course of the study? Or perhaps you discovered something entirely different?

Joseph Kingsbury, Text 100

Don Bulmer

Hi Joseph,

Thank you for the comment. Vanessa and I are actually planning to blog in more depth on some of the more significant findings over the next few weeks. I can say that we did see some statistical significance between older and younger respondents in a few areas – mainly related to use of social media tools and devices to access online networks (mobile) . A few data points are:

- Younger respondents are more likely than older respondents to indicate that they access networks through a mobile device.
- Younger respondents are also more likely to read a company blog and to query the Twitter channel than older respondents

We found that older respondents (typically decision makers) utilize online networks as an extension of off-line networks. Many of the people we interviewed (via phone) described how they often “blurred” the lines between online and offline networking and collaboration. Some spoke about how they “met” a peer in an online community forum exchange and then met them in person at an industry event; others described how they typically use LinkedIn to connect with someone after an initial in person meeting in order to sustain connections. Interestingly, there was interplay between the different networks as well. Those who connected with peers on Twitter often reported following up the online interaction with a LinkedIn search to see what that person’s background is. Others mentioned the importance of the profile feature in gated online communities as a way to look up and learn about peers in context as many profiles within gated communities also list a person’s discussion posts and article contributions. Therefore, one could learn about a colleague in the context of their work. One woman we interviewed (in her mid 50s) said that many of the best contacts and professional relationships that she has established over the last few years – she has never met in person. They are people she has met through various online forums or groups. In this case the values of the relationships are based largely on quality of the content and exchange.

Again, we will go a bit deeper on some of the more significant findings over the next few weeks.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!



Great Article. Have you tried out Injoos Teamware. I would reckon that they have the most comprehensive integrated collaboration platform. With their latest release they have added a new twist to track and execute projects "the social way". Checkout their Blog http://injoos.com/blog/2009/10/09/seamless-collaboration-with-release-35/

The problem with the folks like Google & Yahoo is that they have created many tools which have been loosely coupled. The challenge with such a solution is that the the information gets locked into multiple silos. With Google Wave they are trying to integrate all the conversations (discussions) but what would be truly desirable is a platform built form ground up using social networking at the base and business apps on top of it. I have tried Injoos Teamware (www.injoos.com) and found it captures both informal and formal knowledge like documents in one single workspace on the cloud.

Shannon Page

The irony of this, for me professionally, is that while I work with some incredible people, as a group they are opting to remain ignorant about the powerful dynamics your research confirms. Great information. Thank you.

Kevin Jorden

I once read and trust social media a lot, plus postings in many professional social communities.

But once they get popular, they get abused quickly. Today you can pay for an army in India or somewhere to dig and thumb-up your articles on popular sites such as Digg, etc. The wisdom of crowd becomes incentivized, money-oriented votes.

It would be nice if we have something such as the post stamp, or today maybe with a Umikey, to curb the freedom of speech with something you can't abuse without paying for it.

History shows use that the economic throttle always turns out to be the most effective answer.

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