An De Jonghe of Belgium-based Ulysses Consulting has conducted a neat little study of the international social networking sphere in which I gladly participated.
The study doesn’t claim to be scientific, and it has a clear bias towards Belgium (nearly a third of the participants were Belgians), but there’s some pretty interesting stuff:
a whopping 89% put “professional use” as their number one reason to join an online community! 53% uses it to socialize and to stay connected with friends and a meager 16% is interested in joining a social network if it caters to his/her hobby. Keeping in mind the old predjudice (from people who are not using social networks obviously) that online communities are predominantly used by teenagers who like to chat (socialize), our survey states the opposite.
So among the participants, professional use was the dominant motivation to participate in social networking sites. (Again, maybe this is biased by the way participants were recruited: More professionals and more Belgians that representative, but let’s go with it for the time being. Nobody said this was about US teenagers, right?)
Also, the participants stated pretty clearly (by 40%) that they prefer to have their social networks in their own languages, and that they don’t participate in offline meetings (54%).
An De Jonghe’s blog has the results, which will also be part of a book she’s writing. To round things off, there’s a social networking social network, too, so to speak: A Ning network around De Jonghe’s study.