The results are in at Ragan.com

I had a post about social media studies published at Ragan.com, which is reproduced here:

Published: 9/10/2009

Aha! The survey results are in, and, er, well, ummm …
By Ari B. Adler

Social media studies cover virtually everything and reveal virtually nothing

Have you heard? Did you know? The survey results are in, and studies have revealed something amazing! Or maybe they haven’t.

We can’t go more than a couple of days now without a new survey or study being released that tells us what we need to know about the social media realm—or that what we thought we knew is now all different.

Some might suggest the constant inundation of information is getting to be a bit much. After all, how long can it be now before there’s a study released on the number of studies being conducted?

Let’s take a look at what’s been released lately, and whether you should plan on having an “aha! moment” or not.

CareerBuilder released a survey in mid-August reporting that 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Another 35 percent of employers have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. So, in case you haven’t heard by now, what you post online is there for everyone to see, including potential employers. No aha moment here.

About the same time, ScanSafe released a survey reporting that 76 percent of companies are choosing to block social networking, and it is now a more popular category to block than online shopping, weapons, alcohol, sports, webmail and personal banking. There’s a bit of an aha moment here, as we realize that employers really are getting more out of touch with reality and what they should be doing to empower their employees to take responsibility for the brands they represent.

In late August, Groundswell announced that more than four out of five online Americans are active in creating, participating in or reading some form of social content at least once a month. Though the growth of social content involvement isn’t really surprising, perhaps the clueless employers mentioned above will have their own aha moment and realize the missed opportunities for customer engagement if they block social networking sites.

Some companies do get it, according to a spring survey from Forrester Research that revealed 95 percent of business decision-makers use social networks to some extent and 53 percent of marketers planned to increase their spending on social media marketing this year.

Proofpoint’s study might help those employers blocking social networking sites realize that nothing is safe. Their results showed that e-mail is still the No. 1 offender when it comes to data leaks.

Proofpoint also reported there was a 26-percent increase in the number of employees being fired for breaching company e-mail confidentiality policies. Perhaps the biggest aha moment here is for employees who are still oblivious to how much their online and e-mail activities are monitored by their employers.

Maybe if managers and their employees were online “friends,” that level of trust would grow, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, according to a survey from OfficeTeam. They recently reported that nearly half of executives are uncomfortable being “friended” by the employees they manage.

Perhaps they aren’t crazy about being Facebook friends or Twitter followers with employees because, well, members of the younger generation are just too into themselves. At least, that’s what we’re led to believe from a YPulse study conducted this summer. In that report, college students said social networking makes them more narcissistic and that they also believe their generation is the most narcissistic of all.

There’s really no aha moment in the YPulse survey results. When has there ever been an era when a generation and their social activities have ever been studied so frequently? It seems that every week, someone has pointed out something we didn’t know about another generation or about ourselves. Perhaps the biggest question that needs to be asked is, “Did we need to know that?” Aha!

Ari B. Adler is a media relations professional with experience as a newspaper reporter and editor as well as a government and corporate spokesperson. He is the communications administrator for Delta Dental of Michigan and an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University. You can follow him on Twitter at @aribadler.

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