Our affinity for social expression and consumption
A study late last year estimated that 75% of people access social media on their smartphones at work everyday. 67% of those people said that they used social at work multiple times a day. With more and more studies substantiating this behavior, it's safe to assume that this is real. About half say that their social media use is business-related. About half say it is personal.
I don't want to put too fine a point on this, so let's just draw one conclusion from these studies: People like using social media. If you don't buy into that premise, you're not going to like what I say next.
Why don't more businesses see this as an opportunity?
Here's a fun social media statistic: there are studies that show anywhere from 10-40% of employers firewall social media sites from their employee's computers (a lot of studies say different things). That's not particularly relevant. I know the mindset that goes into social media prohibition. It's the same type of workplace where you give verbal warnings followed by written warnings, followed by final warnings, and then termination. Where every minute is considered time that could be productively used to do X. Departments are probably siloed and work is probably orchestrated by some Svengali who dishes out an abundance of the aforementioned warnings. I'm exaggerating a bit, but sufficed to say that these places aren't enjoyable places to work.
Now consider that every single person in that office has between 150-330 people accessible through social media (depending upon whether you listen to Dunbar, Granovetter or Wolfram). It's not bad enough that some employees take away something that their employees enjoy (social media), but by failing to encourage it they're losing marketing opportunities to the people who are likely to buy from them: weak ties.
I'm curious to know your take on this: are people excessive with their use of social media at work? How accurate do you believe these statistics to be?