Social media expert, author, speaker and consultant Shel Israel has invited suggestions for names of people he might want to interview for the global survey of social media, which he is conducting as a project sponsored by SAP. You can nominate someone you think would be suitable, including yourself.

As he says in his post Explaining the SAP Global Survey, Shel has been contracted by SAP to investigate the impact of social media on business and culture around the world. He is doing this basically through email interviews: he sends questions and then posts the answers on his blog.

So far he has interviewed 51 people and the results make absorbing reading for anyone interested in social media in a global context.

The survey has a business focus, but Shel and SAP see that as extending into “youth, education, government, non-profit, citizen journalism and most anywhere that social media is causing change”.

At BlogWorld Expo I had the good fortune to sit in on a session with Shel and Mike Prosceno from SAP. Shel talked about the survey. He also shared lessons he had learned so far from the survey. From my handwritten notes these were:

Lesson 1 – I am not in control. They are. It’s better that way – trust your audience.

– in every company surveyed, people under the age of 30 and above the age of 10 are driving social media

Lesson 2 – It’s kids’ stuff. That’s the compelling reason to adopt it.

Lesson 3 – Social networks is the killer app. Everywhere.

– we like to tell each other stories: social networks allow us to share things with people who don’t live next door to us

Lesson 4 – Measurement is not yet adequate. But progress is being made.

– we’re not quite sure what to measure: no one so far has been able to measure the avenues of influence

Lesson 5 – The Long Trail of geek-to-enterprise is getting shorter.

– kids may overtake the geeks anyhow

Lesson 6 – The world is not yet flat, but it’s getting hillier. Closing chasms.

Lesson 7 – Culture matters with countries and companies

It was good to hear Mike Prosceno say at the end of the session that SAP were considering continuing the project. Looks like they came through.

If you have suggestions for Shel, people he might contact, a lead, or think you should be interviewed, contact him via email at

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).