Sometimes you need a social media statistic to finish a project, whether it is a blog post, client presentation or a slide deck to support a speech. I recently needed the results of a survey that showed how many companies blocked employee access to social networking sites. All I could find was a study from 2009. It was quoted repeatedly in 2009, again in 2010, and even in 2011. I even came across an infographic about social media in the workplace that was created this year and used the 2009 data for this particular number.
If you think about social media adoption in the past two years, there’s almost no way that a statistic about companies blocking employees from social media sites from two years ago could have any meaning today. Statistics are representative of a moment in time as well as a sample of the population being measured. And we were in a different moment of time.
Before I continue the story of finding this study, I will give you results, because for most of you, that’s why you are here.
Earlier this year (2011) Robert Half Technology interviewed 1400 CIOs (chief information officers) of companies with over 100 employees. This was a follow-up to their 2009 survey, where the still quoted stats come from. They found the following results with regard to using social networking sites at work:
- 31% of companies prohibit all access (down from 54% in 2009)
- 51% of companies permit access for business purposes only (up from 19% in 2009)
- 14% of companies permit access for limited personal use (down from 16% in 2009)
- 4% of companies permit any access for personal use (down from 10% in 2009)
Read the details of the study if you want to know more.
I am not going to go into why companies should or should not block social media sites for their employees because we have already written about it on this site (as have many others, including our friend Arik Hanson). This post is meant to surface this statistic for anyone who is looking for it.
That’s a very important point, and the public service reason I wrote this post. When searching for this information, the main thing Google returned were blogs and blog-type sites. This means they are updated frequently, have keyword rich titles and URLs, and build links both into and out of their pages. As much as everyone says the search algorithms are changing to incorporate more social cues (and they are), the search results I was getting did not. Not matter how many different versions of the terms I used, plus the year 2011, all I found were blog posts about the 2009 study. Note that the link to the study above is a press release from 2011, and it did not come up in my keyword searching.
Since this was a statistic I needed to find, I continued to look, and got creative with my searches and my thought processes of how to find it. I don’t need to share my ninja search skills with you because I am sharing the information that I found: the number of companies that block employee access to social media sites. And I am doing it in a blog post so other people can find this.
The two takeaways from this post are that you know have a new, recent stat to use in your presentations (31%, not 54%, of companies block employees from using social networking sites) and that when you have important information to get distributed, make sure the information gets blogged about. People are not going to find your press release.
Have you found other recent stats about blocking social media at work? Or do you have any other comment about this post to add below?