With social media becoming more and more important to both individuals and businesses, the importance of understanding who is “social” and who isn’t only grows. After all, if we’re going to truly understand how social media is being used, and how it can be used most effectively, we first need to identify who is using it the most.

NetProspex, a company which has built a crowdsourced directory of business contacts, has attempted to do that in its recently-released Social Business Report (PDF).

To do so, NetProspex looked at two primary metrics: the number of employees active on social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, and the “connectedness” of those employees to others on those social networks. From these metrics, NetProspex calculated a Social Index score, which is used to rank who’s social and who’s not.

The results?

The Most Social Professions

Social media is increasingly more than a distraction; for some professions, being active on Twitter and Facebook is good for business. That explains the most social professions:

  • Recruiting
  • Corporate finance/M&A
  • Sales support
  • Events (tie)
  • Product management (tie)

The Most Social Industries

According to the NetProspex Social Index, the five most social industries are all predominantly related to technology in some fashion:

  • Computer technology
  • Human resources and staffing
  • Telecom equipment (tie)
  • Computer network security (tie)
  • Computer storage equipment

The Most Social Companies

Social media has been embraced by many companies. On Facebook and Twitter, you can mingle with major media companies, brands and Fortune 500 stalwarts. Larger companies that are consumer-facing, or related to technology, have more employees, and many of those employees have a reason to associate themselves with their employers, which explains why the following companies topped the NetProspex Social Index.

  • The New York Times
  • Intuit
  • Juniper Networks
  • Adobe
  • Limited Brands

The Most Social Cities

Just as it’s no surprise that folks from the world of technology and media are far more likely to “social” than their less-techie counterparts, it’s no surprise that the most social cities are ones that have prominent tech hubs:

  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose, California
  • New York, New York
  • Ventura, California (tie)
  • Austin, Texas (tie)

Defining “Social”

Of course, it’s worth noting that how one defines “social” is subject to debate. Just because a particular company has a significant number of employees on Facebook or Twitter, or that they have a lot of friends or followers, doesn’t necessarily mean that the employees and their employers are benefiting. Obviously, you have to play the social media game to win, but over time we’ll hopefully be able to quantify who is getting the most out of being “social.