E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Did You Know? Social Networks in Spain

Gran Canaria - Puerto de Mogan in the SpringWho hasn’t heard about the now incredibly popular series of video clips shared in YouTube, amongst several other places, under the heading "Did You Know?" to share some further insights on the kind of significant impact that social computing and social networks are having not only within the business world, but in our society as a whole? I am sure most of you folks out there have already been exposed to a number of them by now. I even have blogged about some of them myself in the past over here, as they provide a nice set of statistical insights that can surely convince even the most skeptical about the value of social software.

But did you know that there is now a Spanish version of such kind of videos as well? Yes, indeed, the smart folks behind Cientouno have put together a video clip of a bit over 4 minutes that describes, quite nicely, the status of social networking in Spain, compared to the rest of the world, by putting together some interesting facts on the kind of impact of those very same social software tools are having within the Spanish market. Rather interesting, to say the least!

Yes, I know, and do realise, that most of the folks out there reading this post are coming from an English speaking country and blogging about this specific video clip may not provide lots of value to most of you. However, for those of you who would want to polish your Spanish skills I bet that it would be a rather interesting exercise to go through the clip and learn about some interesting social networking facts.

At the same time, the main reason why I wanted to include a short reference to this video clip over here is because, contrary to what most people think, Spain is sitting on the top 10 (At #7 at the moment!) on the overall use of social networks across the world! Yes, at #7!! And, interestingly enough, those social networks drive as well a huge amount of traffic, as you would be able to see from this video link under the title "Uso de las redes sociales en España y el resto del mundo":

I am sure that after you have watched the video, even if your Spanish is a bit rusty, you would have to agree with me that it’s rather stunning to think how heavily used social networking sites are, in general, in Spain for private social activities (Family and friends!), yet, within a working environment, Spain, sadly, is one of the countries that doesn’t even come near the top of the list. Not at all!!

And that’s the main reason why I wanted to bring this subject into this blog, as I am about to start putting together a number of different presentations for upcoming conference events, in Spanish, that talk about social computing and its impact within the corporate world and, in particular, within the Spanish one. There is definitely plenty of work that still needs to be done, if we would want to bring social software across businesses, but, interestingly enough, we are not starting from scratch, like in some other countries. Instead, we have got a rather interesting challenge to face that perhaps it is not so obvious in other locations: the fact that Spanish social networkers are already very well versed into using these social tools, but for their own private and personal use! Nothing to do with the business!

So the biggest challenge that the Spanish corporate world is facing nowadays is not just generating awareness and enable knowledge workers to make use of social tools, but eventually to prove that these social tools can be used for business, too! And all of that in an environment where knowledge workers themselves are making that split very clear defining what are their own private, and personal, boundaries and those very same ones related to their jobs. What a challenge!

I mean, as you will see from the video clip, several million people are making use already of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tuenti, etc. etc. for their own personal use, so how are Spanish businesses going to sell the idea of using those very same social tools as their knowledge workers’ core business tools? Most people would probably think that yes, they are using Facebook, Twitter and the like, for their own private use, so why would they bother to use those very same social tools for their day to day job when they would want to keep separate their private lives from their work ones. Here is an example, how many of your Spanish friends have friended their boss or boss’ boss in Facebook or Tuenti and talk about work matters in those social environments? I bet not many!

Like I said, that surely is quite an interesting and mind-blogging challenge that Spanish businesses face today and although I have got already some ideas on how to tackle those issues, I thought I would share with you folks this video clip to give you as well some hints as to what would be those couple of ideas… Hopefully, later on, in the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing with you the presentations I’m putting together already and which I think would help clarify a bit the social computing landscape in Spain. I will leave you with a quick hint, or two, though … It’s going to be a blurred thin line… And also Spanish businesses would probably need to finally change their productivity business models, if they would want to engage those several million knowledge workers online out there who are already getting the most of those social networking sites…

Not a bad challenge to face, right? Or would you rather prefer to start from scratch, so you could influence a completely different experience right from the beginning? I would love to know what you folks think about this topic, specially if you are working for a Spanish firm. Somehow I sense that privacy and security would be two topics that would have a new stronger focus, one where the culture is going to play a big role. Actually, a *huge* one, don’t you think? As a starting point, would you friend your boss in Facebook and talk about work? Or would you follow, or be followed, by your boss in say Twitter and exchange tweets on work related tasks? Not an easy one to answer, right? Well, maybe it is …

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