Social Media Adoption is Low Despite Interest

January, 2010

Social media can mean many things, but basically, it relies on Internet and Web-based tools and services to enable anyone to publish information—be it data, audio, or video—on the Web. It effectively shifts the one-to-many model of traditional publishing and broadcasting to a many-to-many model that fosters and sustains dialogue. While social media use is being rapidly adopted by consumers, the question on many IT executives’ minds today is what does social media mean for my business?

Our study, Social Media Adoption Trends, found that adoption of social media by business is relatively low today, but interest is high. Figure 1 shows that 40% of organizations, at least for now, have put social media on the backburner and only 15% have social media technologies and services in place.

Social Fig1 - Social Media Adoption is Low Despite Interest

But the numbers tell more. Interest is high and nearly one-third of organizations are researching or piloting social media adoption. Another 13% are in the process of implementing social media in their organizations for the first time.

In the survey, we defined adoption as “company-approved use of either public or private social networking sites, blogs, or wikis for networking, collaboration, or information sharing.” The definition further asserted that information sharing could be for internal use only or for internal/external networking and sharing.

The full version of this study examines how many companies are leveraging social media and what their experiences have been thus far. We provide data on adoption trends, return on investment experience, and total cost of ownership experience. We also disclose how organization size and sector influence adoption and economic experience with social media. We conclude with our viewpoint on the potential benefits of enterprise social media.

Adoption of social media is still relatively low across all industries and among organizations of all sizes. But social media is on the radar of most organizations. In fact, our study shows that most organizations are using, or considering using, social media. What remains to be seen, of course, is how extensive that use actually will be.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Social Media Adoption Trends. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).