New trends emerge in mobile devices, social media

Federal decision-makers are nearly twice as likely to use LinkedIn as was the case a year ago, and the majority are accessing other social websites and using mobile devices as well, according to a new survey.

Thirty-five percent of the federal executives surveyed by Market Connections Inc. research firm in Chantilly, Va. said they use LinkedIn for personal and professional reasons, up from 18 percent a year ago.

“LinkedIn is beginning to take off as a key destination for federal decision makers,” Market Connections said in a news release announcing the study results on April 12.

The company performed interviews with 3,700 federal employees referred to as “decision makers,” of whom a significant number were managers and the majority were aged 45 or older.

Facebook and YouTube were the most popular social destinations reported by the respondents. Fifty-eight percent said they used Facebook, and 46 percent used YouTube, either personally or professionally.

Facebook use was “leveling off,” experiencing only a very small bump since last year, while YouTube usage was up by 12 percentage points, said Lisa Dezzutti, president of Market Connections.

Furthermore, professional use of Facebook was dwindling. Among those surveyed, only 3 percent were using Facebook for work-related reasons, down from 6 percent a year ago.

In other results:

  • 13 percent use wikis;
  • 11 percent use Twitter;
  • 6 percent use Flickr;
  • 4 percent use GovLoop;
  • 4 percent use General Services Administration Interact.

Regarding mobile devices, the survey found that more than half of the federal decision makers, 58 percent, use smart phones and almost a third, 31 percent, use tablet computers.

For work email, Blackberry was dominant, with 30 percent of the respondents using the device for that purpose. For personal email, iPhones and Androids were most common, with 36 percent reporting usage on either of those two devices for that purpose.

Following email, the next most popular use for the mobile devices was accessing newspaper websites, with 27 percent of iPhones and Androids and 21 percent of tablets used for that purpose.

The third-ranked use differed between smart phones and tablets. For iPhones and Androids, accessing social media, reported by 24 percent, ranked third. On tablets, video was the third most popular use, with 20 percent reporting it.

The survey also indicated that print media, trade shows and conferences still are preferred channels for many of the federal decision makers. 

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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Reader comments

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 RayW

"The survey also indicated that print media, trade shows and conferences still are preferred channels for many of the federal decision makers"

Trade shows and conferences are great networking tools since you can see subtle cues that other media miss and you have real time interaction, often helping to head off misunderstandings. Only problem is that they cost more and are not a regular happening.

Print media is nice, no batteries, no connections needed, can take places where electronic media is banned (like most of the areas I work in), hard to hack. But it does have issues like bulky and can not be electronically searched.

I can not see having 15 sites to keep track of, heck I have 5 email address and only use three heavily and that is a hassle. Granted that probably 90% of the folks you need are on many of those 15 sites that are alluded to by another poster, but that is still information you waste work time filtering through, although some have sorting filters to help speed the process up, when they work. (Although I hear using those tools is a great way to be upward mobile in certain fields).

In the article they give percentages of the folks interviewed using certain formats, but they neglect to say how many folks are using more than one. It could be that instead of being well over 100 percent or more of the interviewees using "social" media (adding it all up), it could be 58 percent using something and a lot less using it for professional reasons. I love statistics, by ignoring the basis for the percentages you can make things look much better or much worse than they really are.

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 Joseph Lynch Denistone in Sydney Australia

A very well written article Alice. It just goes to show that for professional networking nothing else rates - the others are doing things to 'catch up' like Facebook's 'Branch Out' - but they are way behind, and hey, why would you leave LinkedIn, or not join. All the people you want to contact are already there. Best Regards, Joseph Lynch. I would very much like to have YOU as a contact. I'm on LinkedIn (of course),​pub/joseph-lynch/27/b56/487 , Facebook,​joseph.T.lynch , Twitter,!/lynchjoseph , and a dozen others - look for me!

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