For many companies, 2011 will be the year that social media crosses the threshold from arcane curiosity and item of dread to sanctioned tool for the enterprise. This is not an unexpected evolution, as evidenced by the pattern of technological adoption.
What’s speeding this natural process along is the rapid adoption of social networks: half of America is on Facebook. As of this writing, we’re looking at 149 million active accounts in the United States, and recent statistics indicate that 70 percent of those are active daily.
Twitter, by contrast, “only” has around 190 million accounts worldwide. But the way the late-night talk show hosts chat it up, you’d think it was as common as oxygen. (Wait… actually, the percent of our atmosphere made up of oxygen is quite similar to the percentage of Americans with Twitter accounts…)
Unlike every other revolution in corporate communications, social media did not start as an idea handed from the top down. There was no infrastructure outlay, no meetings about how and when the corporation would invest in the technology. The only real decision has been “Will we allow it here?”