You asked for it and you’ve got it! Many thanks to all who participated in the survey last month. We had great response: 174 respondents over the course of a week. Full disclosure – this survey was created for a presentation to True Textiles, Inc; you may know them as Guilford of Maine. The folks from True Textiles are truly smart, fun, nice, and have some kick-butt products. I truly enjoyed spending time with them – it’s not every day you see the CEO of a company dress up as Darth Vader and encourage employees to shoot apples off one another’s heads a la William Tell!
Enough about my new friends…and now onto what you wanted to hear – the survey results!
First, some basic stats on the demographics of the respondents:
- 53% female; 47% male
- Mix of generations
- 43% Gen X
- 30% Gen Y
- 26% Baby Boomers
- Nearly all from North America (87% from USA)
- 57% have 11 or more years’ experience
Respondents came from a number of specialties within the design world. Respondents noting “other” included specialties such as accounting, human resources, and administrative functions.
One of the first questions we asked was if individuals had access to social media during the workday. Surprisingly enough, 90% had some access:
We then asked how much time designers spend on social media in any given day. This is a self-reported statistic, so take the answers with a grain (or fistful) of salt:
Most designers spend less than 30 minutes a day playing SoMe…and the next graph demonstrates the venues they are using. Note: I asked this question weirdly, so respondents had to select either “use for personal” or “use for work” and did not have the option for both (My Research Methods for the Social Sciences professors would be ashamed!!).
I was a little bit surprised to see how few people are using sites like Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit…and how many are using Pinterest even though it is in its infancy.
When we use social media, the design field is looking for the following types of information:
Other includes: ideas, inspiration & creativity; whereabouts of peers; technology; access to associations & conferences; articles/news; and talent and recruiting.
The final two questions were open ended and asked what designers found most useful about social media, and where they thought it was going in the future. I was (pleasantly) surprised to see a relative lack of snarky answers like “it has no use” or “it’s a waste of time.” Not to say there weren’t a few “bah humbug” answers, but they were far fewer than I expected.
So, what do designers find most useful? The open ended answers tracked fairly closely with the question as to why they use social media in the first place:
- Design ideas and trends (29 responses)
- News and research (18 responses)
- Relationships and connections (16 responses)
- Critiques, ratings, and reviews (9 responses)
- New products and tools (8 responses)
- How to/tutorials/user forums (7 responses)
- Client research (2 responses)
- Scoping out the competition (1 response)
- Sustainability (1 response)
- Business opportunities (1 response)
- Promotions (1 response)
The future of Social Media is nebulous – we’ve seen how quickly the tides have turned on sites like MySpace and Google Wave. Designers agreed on a few common themes for the future:
- Increased communication
- Improved collaboration/transparency of collaboration
- Business development opportunities
- Greater connections – across practices, industries and generations
- Knowledge sharing
- Critiques and design review (& decision-making assistance)
- Increasing sense of community and cultural understanding
- Providing back up staff
- Integration of applications
- Lessons learned
- Mentoring and engagement of the next generation
Are they (you? we?) right? What do you think the future of social media is? What do you find most useful?
Thanks to all who participated!