Social media has changed the way we communicate and collaborate, not just personally but professionally as well. IT professionals are no exception and in some areas, they are leading the charge.
In the past, the best ways to interact with other IT professionals was primarily through professional associations or industry events. The problem was while the interactions seem to be productive, they were usually too irregular to facilitate any meaningful or sustainable dialogue.
Rewriting the Rules
Audience Engagement Research studies show among the 90% of IT professionals that visit one or more social or business networking sites daily, 60% classify themselves as active users of or active participants in social media. Those numbers are even greater in the ITWorld Social Media Trends Survey, in which 65% of the respondents said they were active users – with an additional 18% defining themselves as “thought leaders” – a frequent contributor with followers. This is more than someone just updating their Facebook page or status. IT professionals are using social networking sites to share IT-related news, blogs, product information and tactical/how-to resources that is relevant, informative and newsworthy.
Where is the Content?
The source is traditional – technology content websites. Three-quarters of the IT professionals in the Audience Engagement research said they rely on technology content sites for tech-related information, trends, news, reviews and opinions – far surpassing other sources including technology related print publications, tech vendor websites and technology focused community forum sites. IT professionals say they find the most relative content on technology sites being more trustworthy and more valuable than other sources. Eight in ten IT professionals rated the information in technology content sites as extremely valuable- out pacing research firms, tech communities, vendor sites and other sources.
Clearly, IT professionals need to go where their audience is: on the social Web. Social media platforms such as Linked-In and Twitter have altered how IT professionals share information. Not with just peers, but also the extended groups of influencers that interact with those peers. There is also another trend that is starting to surface, seeing the value of social collaboration, internal social platforms such as Jive, Yammer and Social Cast are now being deployed internally by IT departments to help improve company communication and collaboration and in some cases replacing internal email and messaging systems.
Social media and business networking has changed the way IT professionals discover and share information. It’s a movement that will continue to grow as younger professionals enter the workforce.
This blog post references research studies sourced as IDG Audience Engagement Study and ITworld Social Media Trends.