Web 2.0 should still prove its worth among I.T. professionals

The question whether social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Friendster, Twitter, YouTube and others are really here to stay or are they simply a fad? To ordinary users, social networking sites are a big hit, but how about to professionals – more specifically the I.T. professionals?

A recent CompTIA titled Information and Social Media Use Among IT Professionals reveals that a majority (79 percent) of information technology (IT) professionals use social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, but one fifth of them (21 percent) do not use social networking sites at all.

Of the major social networking sites, Facebook was the most popular, with 57 percent of survey respondents indicating that they had been active on the site within the 30 days prior to taking the survey. Following Facebook, YouTube was the second most popular site (53 percent), then MySpace (29 percent), Twitter (25 percent) and LinkedIn (22 percent).

Most IT professionals (71 percent) visited these sites solely for personal purposes and 22 percent participated for a mix of personal and professional reasons. Only seven percent engaged in social networking solely for work purposes.

The survey found IT professionals actively participate in more work-related online communities and discussion forms than non-work related groups. Among those who participate in online communities and forums, the majority (58 percent) indicate they do so to find answers to their questions and 46 percent say they do to share information with their colleagues.

According to the study, expert advice was the most highly-desired feature of an online community with 48 percent rating it as a “must-have” feature. A two-way idea exchange was the second most popular feature (40 percent), followed by a directory (39 percent).

Lack of interest (53 percent) was the most common reason cited for not engaging with online communities or forums, followed by lack of need (51 percent), lack of time (38 percent) and lack of value (28 percent). Poor layout or organization (52 percent), lack of relevant new content (52 percent) and too much sales oriented content (52 percent) were the most common reasons given for leaving or limiting participation in an online community.

When asked what online sources they use for work-related news and information, IT professionals indicated that they rely most heavily on email, with 63 percent reading emailed news alerts on a daily or weekly basis. Electronic newsletters were the second most popular daily or weekly news resource (59 percent), followed by major mainstream media news sites (56 percent) and industry-specific niche news sites (53 percent). Half of the IT professionals surveyed do not check blogs (49 percent) or subscribe to research or consulting sites (49 percent) for industry news.

This survey was fielded online to a sample of 404 IT professionals during the period Sept. 1 – 9, 2009. The margin of error for the overall results is +/- 5 percentage points.

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