The NetProspex Social Index was determined after an analysis of more than 100,000 business executives from the Fortune 1000 companies in the first quarter of 2010.
Apple ranked 10th, while eBay, Amazon, Disney and Google rounded out the top 5. Some surprises? - Raytheon #8 ahead of Best Buy #9, EMC #16 ahead of Cisco #20, and Coca Cola #50.
I was surprised because Microsoft, from an outsider's industry perspective, has shown itself to be increasingly unable to adopt, adapt and make business and cultural changes necessary to maintain it's competitive position. It's often said in these kinds of conversations, perhaps over a beer, that the structure of Microsoft mitigates against any broad-reaching cultural and business changes because of the autonomy of the local regional and country managers. Changes are crushed at these borders in direct alignment with the reporting and compensation system.
But here is evidence to the contrary. Achieving widespread and coordinated use of social media takes cultural change. And here I disagree with the Reuter's authors who say "not surprisingly, the list was dominated by technology and software companies". Achieving this cultural change is not a natural capacity of technology companies, and often in fact they are the worst and most conservative. A "social media engagement culture" is not a technical achievement!!
What this report also brought out to me is the enormous opportunity which is being missed by Microsoft's resellers and distributors who almost certainly are less social media aware and capable then Microsoft. This means that the resellers are missing out on a myriad of important ways of connecting and building important business relationships with Microsoft, from which they could add value to their customers.
In this respect Mike Dubrall from the Social Media Academy and the Gillwell Group were prescient in putting together the "Social Media for High Tech Channel Partners" program. This program was been run by Qwest and EMC for their partners, and it teaches partners how to navigate their social media spaces and how to engage their customers and vendors in a more social and comprehensive manner.
So, in the context of the NetProspex survey, it means that Microsoft offers its partners huge potential to become engaged and to build their business, if they know how to do it! Those that do will win.
(The NetProspex Social Index (NPSI) was used to score social network activity across 9 major networks: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster, Flickr, LiveJournal, hi5 and Flixster. The score is based on the average number of friends or connections across major social networks (friendliness) and the average number of tweets, # following, and # of followers per employee (twitter score).)