Businesswomen Prefer Email to Telephone When Networking, Increase Usage of LinkedIn and Facebook by Double-Digits

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New survey by The Downtown Women's Club documents dramatic increases by women networking online through email, social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, and business blogs. The survey tracks changes over a two-year period.

How do you go about your networking?

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook encourage you to be more personal, even when it comes to business networking.

The Downtown Women's Club (http://www.downtownwomensclub.com), a professional network and career website for women, surveyed 800 businesswomen about their online networking habits.

Key trends include: (1) the preference of email to phone networking; (2) the dominance of LinkedIn as an online networking tool; (3) double-digit gains in the use of professional and social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook; (4) an increase in the use of blogs for business networking; and (5) Gen Y citing the Daily Show, blogs and social networks as regular sources of political news and information.

Key Findings:

According to the Downtown Women's Club 2008 Online Networking Survey: How Social is Your Media? (.PDF) in-person (face-to-face) is still the most popular way to network just as it was in 2006. However, the big change from the Downtown Women's Club's 2006 Online Networking survey is in the number two position. Today, more businesswomen in all generations now prefer email (82%) to the telephone (64%) when it comes to networking. The difference between email and telephone preferences is even more pronounced in Generation Y where 86% rely heavily on email networking and only 45% like the telephone.

Survey Question: How do you go about your business networking (all generations combined)?

1. In person - 94% in 2008, up from 92% in 2006
2. Email- 82% in 2008, up from 63% in 2006
3. Phone - 64% in 2008, down from 66% in 2006
4. LinkedIn - 59% in 2008, up from 24% in 2006
5. Facebook - 32% in 2008, up from 17% in 2006
6. Blogs - 27% in 2008; didn't ask in 2006.

Survey Question: Which of the following online tools/services do you use (all generations combined)?
1. LinkedIn - 89%
2. Facebook - 63%
3. Yahoo or Google groups - 48%
4. Myspace - 28%
5. Classmates.com - 26%
6. Plaxo - 23%
7. Twitter - 21%
8. Meetup - 20%
9. Flickr - 13%
10. del.icio.us - 10%

The increase in online networking did not surprise Diane K. Danielson, CEO of the Downtown Women's Club and the creator of the survey. "We knew there would be an increase in businesswomen using online networking tools," says Danielson, "However, we were surprised to see double-digit increases in all three generations - Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y."

Danielson believes that women will ultimately prefer social networks for business networking because they resolve some issues with online networking. "According to our survey, four of the five top reasons women don't network online relate to their belief that online networking is too impersonal," says Danielson. "Social networks like Twitter and Facebook encourage you to be more personal, even when it comes to business networking."

What about employers' fears that social networks are a major time waster? The Downtown Women's Club 2008 Online Networking Survey found that only 16% of respondents participate in social media for more than one hour per day. However, that number does rise to approximately 30% for Gen Y.

Despite recent proclamations by Paul Boutin of Wired Magazine that blogging is dead, blogs appear to be gaining ground in business. 62% of respondents are reading at least one business and career blog per day (a 40% increase from 21% in 2006) and 20% of respondents run a blog for their business (up from 5% in 2006).

The Survey also looked at the influence social media was having on how businesswomen receive their political news and information. Daily newspapers (online editions) were cited by approximately 48% of each generation as a main source of political news, followed closely by major network newscasts with an average of 45%. CNN (TV) was in the fourth spot in all generations.

The difference between generations was that Boomers relied on more print media (daily newspapers and weekly magazines);Generation X preferred news websites; and 23% of Gen Y respondents stated that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was a major source of political news and information, followed by blogs at 18%.

This could mean even more difficulty for print news sources because, daily print newspapers were cited by only 12% of Gen Y as a regular source of political news and information ranking it 11th behind MSNBC.com, MSNBC (TV), social networks, and Fox News (TV).

Conclusion:
"Baby Boomers and others who believe they can make it to retirement without having to learn about social media may find themselves actually in retirement earlier than expected as business catches on to its utility," concludes Danielson. Nevertheless, Danielson reiterates the fact that nearly 95% of respondents still ranked in-person networking as an important networking tool. She says, "The best use of online networking is to supplement your face-to-face networking with these online tools. This is the 'clicks and mix' networking that we encourage and teach through the Downtown Women's Club."

About the Downtown Women's Club:
The Downtown Women's Club is a business network and career website that empowers women through networking and introducing the resources and technologies they need to achieve career success. Diane K. Danielson is the CEO and Founder of the Downtown Women's Club and the co-author of The Savvy Gal's Guide to Online Networking (or What Would Jane Austen Do?).

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Vivian Franquez
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