What, if not your birthday, is a good moment to check what impact the digitization of “social” has on your life (yes, we had social interaction prior to the Internet). Given that not many take the digital life to such an extreme as I do, this might help you better understand the impact. For your benefit I also included the 2009 Social Media Birthday Statistics.
Social Networking Gained vs. Direct
This year the number of birthday wishes that came through social networking channels have dramatically gained share vs. traditional direct greetings. It is important to note that the direct messages actually increased by a healthy 30% but it could not match the 91% increase in social. What this means is that the digitization has lead to a substantial increase in happy moments (people contact me to wish me all the best) without a negative impact on my direct contacts (since even that increased by 30%).
Another interesting observation is that people are more confident to express their greetings in public. The number of public messages (e.g. posts on Facebook) increased by 205% whereas the undisclosed (e.g. XING or D: on Twitter) dropped almost entirely. I see the same trend in business. We feel more comfortable to express our opinion publicly in front of our business network because we know that we can achieve more together as a group - plus it doesn’t hurt to let everybody know what I am doing.
Welcome Facebook, a Role Model for the Social Workplace
While 2009 showed a wide variety of channels, this year’s analysis shows that Facebook is the place to be. Before you jump to conclusion I’d like to highlight that more than ever, people contacted my directly. So despite the stunning tripled number of Facebook greetings, my direct social interactions with my offline network has also increased. I know this is not what the pessimist in you was looking for but let me spell it out one more time: digital networks are complementing and not replacing offline networks.
The Social Workplace
The findings are supported by a recent study from McKinsey which confirms my belief of a networked enterprise. Over the last 4 years my friends of netmedia worked with me to develop and evangelize on the concept of the Social Workplace. If an organization manages to connect the people inside and outside of the organization by encouraging them to share, it holds the key to Take the Next Step.
See also recent presentation about the Social Workplace (German):