Workers of the World Unite (and be Social)

While our resident research analyst and long-standing author of the Palo Alto Networks Application Usage and Risk Report, Matt Keil, is out speaking at one of our European User Group Conferences this week, I was asked to provide an overview of country-specific findings based on our latest research.

What was the one defining similarity among employees’ use of applications in the workplace across the 19 different countries/regions we analyzed? A love for social networking applications.

Our data underscores how active employees are on social networks and that it’s not all about Facebook—the iconic social network dominates the North American and European markets, but not so throughout Asia and Japan.

Major markets such as Japan, Australia, Korea and – not surprisingly – China have more usage of other social networking apps in the enterprise than Facebook:

  • Japan: Twitter usage represented 85% of all social networking traffic.
  • Australia and New Zealand: micro-blogging site Tumblr was used more heavily than any other social networking application.
  • Korea: Daum and Cyworld both are used more heavily in Korea than anywhere else.
  • China: Usage of local favorites such as RenRen, Sina and Kaixin clearly dominate this category, leaving only 1% of social networking traffic to Facebook.

Data-Driven Analysis of Social Networks in the Enterprise in 2011 (Video)

What else did we learn about usage of social networking when looking through our regional lens?

  • France: Social networking games and plug-ins are used 50% more heavily than the global average.
  • UK: Our data showed a surprisingly low usage of Twitter in the workplace relative to all other social networking activity, almost half the global average.
  • Nordics: Vkontakte—originally a Russian only site, but now in 67 languages—consumed 20% of social networking traffic. We also saw Vkontakte usage is many German organizations.
  • Benelux: Hyves holds its own in its regional market—representing 14% of social networking traffic.

There are many other application-usage trends that we could examine at a country-specific level. But social networking applications use has and will remain a major theme in our research because of its undeniable impact on our personal and work life. Organizations worldwide are at one stage or another in figuring out how to harness the benefits of social networking for their business. A natural step in the process is developing policies for securely enabling employees to use social networking applications.

Test Your Knowledge

If you think you have a good sense of application trends in your country, we encourage you to take one of our “five facts” tests below:

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