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Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey

Sarah Thomas
7/21/2011
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Social networking represents a profound change in the way people connect, communicate and gather information. It is both made possible by and changing the telecommunications industry. And we wanted to learn more about where, how and when people in the telecom space are using third-party Web services to communicate and share personal and professional information.

In the first ever global Light Reading survey of 750 telecom professionals, including over 200 service providers, we learned that communications professionals are waking up to the value in social media -- some are even using it to help find potential customers, with LinkedIn Corp. as the preferred network by a landslide.

LinkedIn attracted 33.9 million unique visitors in June and now has 115 million users, according to comScore Inc. Twitter Inc. had 30.6 million visitors in June, and Facebook outpaced all other social media sites with 160.8 million unique visitors during that month.

Why get social?
Social media is where our personal and professional lives are becoming intertwined. Ask any number of politicians or athetes if you need proof.

While personally gratifying (or indemnifying), social media can also be professionally advantageous. Even when the information a user conveys online is not related to their business, residual good vibes reflect on the company too. Conversely, negativity spewing from an individual account can have the same counterproductive effect.

While social media doesn't represent a huge revenue opportunity for telecom operators, the survey results on the following pages provide a snapshot of how the industry -- inclusive of everyone from C-level execs to engineers to marketers -- is using social media, what sites they prefer and some prevalent attitudes toward the information that comes from such sites.

Here's a hyperlinked content list:



— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:22 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


I was suprised at how popular LinkedIn was, but I'm probably not making the most of it, so am missing the day-to-day value. I thought Twitter would be the favorite.


I'm curious to hear what social networks you all use the most. Let me know in the comments.

charles_luan
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charles_luan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:17 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


I tried LinkedIn one year ago and got lots of social conections. It is really good. And in my opinion, the IT or Telecom professional like it more as it provides a kind of like virtual google social community which help people get the required information more efficiently and authoritative.

Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:15 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


It was interesting to see that the majority of people use Facebook only for social/personal communication. That's how I've ended up using it, too; it seems better suited for it.


Facebook, btw, scores as low in consumer satisfaction as cable companies and airlines:


http://www.inc.com/news/articles/201107/facebook-scores-poorly-on-customer-satisfaction.html


Among social media, only MySpace scored lower. If we attribute that to inherent suckiness rather than active, seething hate, then Facebook is arguably the most hated.


(Hat tip Mark Evans/@markevans on twitter)

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:14 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


That's interesting that people seem to hate Facebook, yet it still has more than 700 million users. There are social network alternatives, but people want to be where their friends are -- even if they hate the platform.

jdbower
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jdbower,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:13 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


If only someone like Google were to exploit that fact ;)


Google Plus isn't quite there yet, being closed is a minor hinderance but it's also missing critical features like business/organization entities (almost like it's a Beta product and doesn't have a full feature set).  Largely it's a decent experience given the early stage of the development, certainly a competitor worth looking at once they open the floodgates.

lshannon
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lshannon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:12 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


Did you happen to ask if anyone was using any video calling or conferencing apps as part of their social networking, such as Apple's FaceTime?  There's always a bit of hoo-hah when these video F2F services are launched, but then you never seem to hear any use statistics, which makes me suspect that no one much is using them.  Still.  Would love to know if you got any indication about this in your research.  Thanks!


--Leslie

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:09 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


We asked if our respondents have tried FaceTime, and 16% said yes. I think that's pretty significant given that it's only been out one year and requires device exclusivity.


(Spoiler alert: A video blog saying as much will be on the site soon. :)

ronankeane
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ronankeane,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:01 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


I would add that Google Analytics does not provide social media tracking. It's an analytics platform for website metrics. I recommend that telecom companies use more than just Google Alerts for tracking since the emails are infrequent and don't collect all the data. Stakeholders in telecom companies should use www.socialmention.com (free) and www.viralheat.com (very low cost). I'm the social media strategist for XO Communications and we've found social media tracking extremely helpful for many reasons.


Ronan Keane.

rjmachin
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rjmachin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:55:24 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


My perception is that people don't really hate Facebook - it attracts a lot of negativity in part because it's so big - the same reason that a lot of big airlines and cable companies do, as mentioned elsewhere.. it's not always that they're so terrible, or at least not significantly worse than their competitors - more that they provide a nice big target...

^Eagle^
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^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:55:22 PM
re: Light Reading's 2011 Social Networking Survey


no, we definitely hate facebook.  and all the other privacy robbing, tracking social companies.


sailboat

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