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Last week, research showed that SME’s were quickly taking up Twitter and adapting its many uses to suit their businesses. However, worrying research from ntl:Telewest Business has been released today that reveals more than 80% of the UK’s top 100 tech companies don’t appear to be using it for business communication purposes.
The research report comes from a study of the FTSE techMARK 100 and found that workers from eight of the top ten companies are not embracing Twitter, despite the recent surge in interest across the media, commercial organisations and the general public.
The report highlights the rather shameful fact that only two of the top tech firms in the UK have employees using Twitter internally, whereas in the US, ALL of the top 10 tech companies listed on Nasdaq are twittering away like crazy during business hours. Furthermore, within the top 100 UK technology corporations, a paltry nineteen of them are using Twitter commercially - which I for one, find rather troubling - in the face of an ever-increasing uptake of the tool for communication on a massive variety of levels.
Stephen Beynon, the Managing Director, ntl:Telewest Business, said:
There is no longer any excuse for not embracing social networks to share news, recruit employees, and even monitor and respond to users who are praising or criticising them. Twitter has been successfully used as a network building tool by businesses such as Mozilla and Sun Microsystems, so there is a template that British businesses can apply to make it work for them. The risk in not using Twitter is that these companies will fall behind transatlantic competitors...
I agree with him in the fact that there is no excuse, especially with the ever-evolving online environment. So what is the reason for this slow uptake on the part of larger, more established businesses? Without becoming too wrapped up in offline social-speculation, I had an interesting discussion at Econsultancy’s Digital Cream event.
To summarise, it basically followed the line of thought that in the US, individuals running large companies are generally quick to adapt new tools and approaches to business, encouraging those below to follow. It’s like a ripple effect going through the pyramid of the workforce. However, in the UK, it seems to be generally the opposite: Those at the bottom adapt and understand, but then face a horrendous uphill struggle to try and get make those at the top realise the opportunities. Why this might be, I couldn’t say. Perhaps it’s due to a traditional way of thinking from UK MD’s and CEO’s. Maybe they’re scared of change, or they might genuinely not understand the situation. (In terms of SME's, there is more likely to be a greater degree of communication and adaption, both sides of the Atlantic, so no pyramid problems).
I recognise that this doesn’t apply to every large (or small) business in the UK or the US. However, when you’ve got smaller, fresher companies taking initiative, using new online business tools to actively look for and engage with opportunities, but the bigger player’s clearly aren’t, then this highlights that change will soon be apparent within the commercial world.
As I mentioned already though, for me, the most perplexing thing to come out of this research is that it’s the UK’s top tech companies who are displaying a lack of understanding about their own environment. I imagine that if they continue in this fashion, then they might not stay top. What’s the excuse? There isn’t one.