I recently came across an update of a longitudinal study on the use blogs and twitter of Fortune 500 companies that was published almost a year ago now by Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. A few years back, I had briefly blogged about the original study, how it impacted enterprise learning and what type of mindset change this new pratice required.

In summary, the findings show an increase in public-facing corporate blogs by Fortune 500 companies as well as an increase in corporate Twitter accounts linked to these blogs. The study concludes that there is a trend in increased adoption of social media by corporations.

But the key question that lingers with me is ‘Why?’ It has to be more than just a trend, right? There has to be some bottom line payoff to this and actually, the payoff has to be more than simply financial.

When I did the study on training and development edubloggers, I was primarily interested in their motivations and it is therefore natural that the same question arises here.  Barnes and Matteson’s study does not give any indication about the motivations of these corporations for blogging or tweeting nor if they are measuring their impact by doing so. I’d be very curious to see just how much the Fortune 500 or other organizations are measuring their impact and what tools they are using to do so.

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