UK workers don't trust social media

Don't tell anyone, but social media may be no better for communicating important news than office gossip.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

At least that’s according to a survey from Parity, which found that only 3% of office workers would use social media platforms to convey important information to colleagues. Around the same proportion said they’d rely on office gossip to spread the news around the company.

Now, we’re not sure exactly which workplaces Parity surveyed, but we’d have to question any employee who chooses office gossip channels to spread news on anything more serious than who’s been caught photocopying which parts of whom. But the figure at least provides an effective measure of how untrustworthy people still find social media.

The survey cites several successful social media campaigns, including President Obama’s White House race, and viral advertising campaigns for everything from Earth Hour to T-Mobile. But it doesn’t seem to be catching on more widely in the workplace. People are instead sticking with good old trustworthy email, preferred by 52% of people as the best way to share information on a large scale.

That said, it’d be interesting to learn how many people trusted email in that way when it first came out. The system may be a staple now, but chances are it would have been treated just as cautiously when it first emerged as social media is now. Which bodes well for blogs and wikis, which were cited by less than 1% of respondents as viable communication tools.

Meanwhile a quarter of companies surveyed reported that they had no corporate social media or intranet at all. That’s a little surprising. For while a huge amount of online communication tools are simply a time-consuming way to tick the ‘see how modern we are’ box, the huge number of positives for using such technology – for anything from hosting HR forms to promoting staff events – are pretty well-documented.

A separate survey, by Monster Meter, has also found that 13% of workers use Twitter during the working day, with 8% 'tweeting' daily. Monster Meter seems to see this as a sign that the Twitter phenomenon isn’t living up to the hype, but to us the figures actually seem quite high: that’s still quite a lot of people blathering about nonsense on a daily basis. Then again, if 3% of workers are happy to trust the office gossip to disseminate important company news, then it’s no surprise that some of them should outsource the job to Twitter, or ‘Office Gossip 2.0’, to do it properly.

In today's bulletin:

BT loses 15,000 jobs - and £134m
Mortgage cheer as first-time buyers jump by a third
Network Rail boss gives gravy train the swerve
UK workers don't trust social media
Home-working causes headaches and clumsiness

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