Enterprise internal social media: an exploratory study on digital natives' perceptions
Carreira, Thais Lustosa
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Enterprise internal social media, as it is currently delineated, emerged in the early 2000s enabling users to create, share, and consume content and participate in social networking. Given the success of social media in general and its increasing diffusion, more specifically into enterprises' internal communication strategy, this topic has also become necessary for organizational analysis. Internal social media offers many opportunities for organizations but presents, at the same time, many challenges, and understanding its impact is critical to implement and use these tools in corporate contexts effectively. On top of that, it is notorious that age and life stage are instrumental in how media is consumed. Given that digital natives are entering the labor market, the need to better understand this generation's fundamental and defining characteristics has intensified. As preferences of work and workplace are different for different generations, it is crucial to understand the preferences of digital natives to establish a proper channel of communication. This work proposes to ascertain digital natives' perceptions regarding enterprise internal social media use through an exploratory study. Through content analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews, this research provides new insights into how internal communication on social media influences individuals and organizations and what are the implications for companies that wish to develop effective participatory communication by using internal social media, especially as it relates to the recently established digital natives labor force. The findings suggest a naivety that shields their perception of the organization's controlling power due to frontline trustworthiness feeling as a result of the company's projected culture and values and the professional immaturity of the generation combined to an optimist view over social media implications. Also, regardless of the consequences, they believe in a participatory culture naturally created on social systems that impose a high level of social media contribution within the company.