Government workers using mobile to access social media, survey shows

Mobile devices catching up to home and work computers for public sector employees accessing social media

Mobile devices are being used nearly as often as home and work office computers as the means for public sector employees to access social media, according to a new survey from Market Connections Inc. research firm.

The Social Media in the Public Sector survey covered 884 workers, including 352 federal employees, 181 state and local employees and 272 government contractors. It looked at their work-related and personal usage of social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs and wikis.

Seventy percent of the respondents reported they are accessing social media with mobile devices. That compared with 92 percent using home computers and 74 percent using work computers, the survey indicated.

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“We are seeing mobile pick up and drive government usage,” Lisa Dezzutti, president of Market Connections, said at an Oct. 18 conference presenting the findings. “This has many implications for content. You need to ask—is it mobile friendly?”

The most widely-used mobile device was the iPhone, used by 53 percent of the federal employees and 62 percent of the contractor employees surveyed. The research included both work-owned and personally-owned devices.

In second place was the Blackberry, used by 42 percent of the federal respondents and 35 percent of the contractors. Android came in third, with 39 percent of the federal respondents and 28 percent of the contractors.

While iPad usage was below 30 percent, Dezzutti said it is rising and based on conversations with workers, she anticipates a large jump in next year’s results.

In other results, the survey found that government employees were late adopters of social media, in comparison to contractor employees.

The survey suggested that agencies are warming up to social media. In last year’s survey, 55 percent of the government employees who participated said they were affected by bans on social media sites. In this year’s survey, only 19 percent were so affected.

“There has been a big drop in banning,” Dezzutti said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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