A new Forrester report that surveyed nearly 5,000 American IT workers has found that few of them are actually using social media for work-related activities.

Checking their personal Facebook pages aside, we are still at the early adopter stage for many of us when it comes to using these tools in business.

The report, The Enterprise 2.0 User Profile: 2011 was written by TJ Keitt and based on research conducted during May 2011.

The survey found that three population groups account for most of the users, including the early adopters/tech optimists, upper-level management, and younger workers. But for the most part, Keitt says “The truth is we’re still sorting this out.”

More than half of those surveyed are using just one tool, merely “dipping a toe in the water.” For the most part, the tools that are being used, no surprise, are the public social networks and not ones that operate behind corporate firewalls.

There are some curious results that bear citing. First, it is Gen X and not their younger Gen Y cohorts that are burning up the social media networks. ”While it’s true Gen Yers are helping introducing social tools and demonstrating their value to the business, content and collaboration pros ignore social technology-savvy Gen Xers at the peril of any enterprise social initiative.”

use of social media for work

Second, social media users are more productive than non-users, at least in how they assess their own productivity. Part of the reason for this is because they can more readily find the information they need to do their jobs.

But another result is that they also work longer hours than non-users, to the tune of nearly two and a half hours per week. But don’t get too excited here: less than a quarter of the respondents feel that social media technologies are vital to doing their jobs, which is another data point in the early state of affairs surrounding these technologies.

So how can corporations accelerate social media adoption, assuming they think this is a good idea? Keitt has several suggestions, all of them good ones:

  • Evaluate corporate policies on the use of public social tools.
  • Encourage early adopters to invest in their corporate social profiles.
  • Find the relevant use cases for social tools and promote them company-wide.
  • Get management to formulate the appropriate social media strategies.
  • Recommend and promote the right kinds of technologies company-wide.

Source: FourFiveOne

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