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Social Media use is growing fast. A Nielsen survey showed an 82 percent jump in usage of Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook in December 2009 from the previous year. The average Internet user spent about 5.5 hours per month on social media sites, and in the US, there is an audience of roughly 142 million social users.
The dramatic growth and acceptance of Social Media tools has piqued the interest of businesses. Part of the story is that businesses are trying to connect externally with people, primarily clients and potential customers, and they are reaching out to them with tools like Twitter and Facebook. But internally, businesses are experimenting to see how Social Tools in the context of Enterprise 2.0 can improve internal their communication and processes.
Companies are going beyond blogs and wikis and are trying out things like:
Microblogging. Think Twitter, but a version of it that runs internal to the corporation. It’s a kind of one-to-many super-brief chat/IM session. Microblogging lets people share brief comments or insights and lets people quickly get answers to their questions. Gartner sees Microblogging as catching on in the enterprise but thinks the set of companies that will get real value from stand-alone micro-blogging will be small.
Social-enabled Enterprise Software. Social tools and features that allow more interaction and annotation of business data will become standard in many Enterprise software products. CRM products have heavily begun going down this road — Social CRM allows businesses to develop closer relationships with their customers, trying to turn the relationship with customers into ones that are closer to partnerships.