Try to say this with a straight face:
The vast majority of companies (89%) are either blogging now or planning to blog soon.
Are you LOL? ROTFL?
To its credit, the Guidewire Group is transparent about the survey’s methodology (links added):
The “Blogging in the Enterprise” survey was fielded for two weeks in September 2005. The online survey was open to public participation, encouraged by direct email to a random sample of 5000 CMO Magazine readers, a press release announcing the survey, and unsolicited postings in various blogs and blog search engines. 140 individuals responded to the survey.
(Source: PR Newswire press release)
A couple of questions about the survey:
- Why would anyone use a “random sample of 5000 CMO Magazine readers“, then give up any control of the survey instrument’s distribution by making public the link to the questionnaire, and by asking bloggers to post about it? The result is that the survey has used a nonprobabilistic sample, and that no generalizations can be made about the data outside the small number of survey respondents.
- What’s the guarantee that those who took the survey were in the position of knowing the information they provided?
- If Guidewire was aware of the survey’s limitations –as the press release shows– why is ignoring them by talking about the results as if they were relevant for the corporate world? E.g.: Staggering Stats on Blog Adoption (Demo Letter), BlogOn 2005 Opening Remarks (BlogOn 2005 Blog).
- Finally, I wonder what was the reaction of participants to BlogOn 2005 when these staggering “stats??? were announced. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything about it in the entries tagged with BlogOn and BlogOn2005 on Technorati; and there’s no reaction so far from the fellow PR bloggers who participated (most of them as speakers) to the event: Elizabeth Albrycht, Shel Israel, Mike Manuel, Laurie Mayers, Jeremy Pepper, and Lisa Poulson. Steve Rubel has a link (Survey: Corporate Blogging Takes Off) –but no comment– to an article from internetnews.com.
Side note: there’s no difference, essentially, between Guidewire’s survey and the Edelman/Technorati recent survey. In fact, Guidewire was more upfront about the study’s limitations then Edelman (we’re still waiting for Edelman’s official report about the methodology, two weeks after the results were released). But the effects of self-selection are more visible in Guidewire’s survey.
- PR Newswire: iUpload and Guidewire Group Announce Survey on Corporate Blogging, Sept. 21, 2005
- PR Newswire: Enterprise Blogging Survey Finds Corporate Adoption of Blog Tools Is Key Driver of Social Media Market, Oct. 17, 2005
- BlogOn 2005 Blog: Guidewire’s Executive Research Summary on Corporate Blogging Adoption, Oct. 19, 2005 (PDF file, 8 pages; see page 7 for methodology)
- iUpload: Download the iUpload and Guidewire Group Corporate Blogging Survey (free registration required) – includes the executive summary and Blogging in the Enterprise: Myths and Realities (PDF, 22 pages)
Reactions from the blogosphere
- Mike Gotta: “The survey has some potential and initial statistics are interesting but the survey unfortunately does not have enough data points to warrant serious attention. […] My first concern is the sample size. 140 respondents is small. The respondent group was also self-selecting which can skew results (even though the survey was publicized, it is not the most balanced way of gathering statistically relevant data). Only 19% of the people who responded were from companies with greater than 1000 employees (that’s about 26 people). Around 32 people responded from companies with revenue of over $100 million. It’s unfortunate since the media has picked these statistics up as trends across “corporate america” and clearly that inference is a leap of faith unless you want to extrapolate that based on 26-32 people. You can of course. I would prefer to still classify corporate blogging as embryonic and in an exploratory/pilot phase within the vast majority of companies.”
- Shel Holtz: “Guidewire Group’s BlogOn 2005 Social Media Adoption Survey suggests 91.4% of these corporations are using blogs internally and 96.6% externally. If you believe these results, I have the deed to a nice bridge we should talk about.”
- Anu Gupta: “I don’t understand why the general reaction [to the survey] hasn’t been more disdainful – I wonder what the reaction would have been if, with the same sample size, the headline was ‘2% of companies are using blogs’?”
(More to come.)
- Enid Burns, ClickZ Stats: Corporate Blog Adoption, Stronger in Small Business. After a long listing of the results, the last line of the article includes a reference to the number of respondents (“the survey was completed by 140 respondents”) – but there’s no question whatsoever about the relevance of survey’s results.
- Susan Kuchinskas, internetnews.com: Corporate Blogging Takes Off . Same thing: lots of “stats”, no questioning of their validity.