This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center


The importance of internal social media has become increasingly prominent, especially in times of remote-only working. The use of internal social media has shifted the focus of internal communication from top-down information to participation, cooperation, and dialogue. Specifically, as a form of digital networking, internal social media enables an organization to strengthen bonds with digitally savvy employees and encourage social interaction and digital collaboration.

Numerous factors influence employees’ internal social media usage. Some of these factors include the perceived ease of use or the underlying organizational culture. However, there is a tendency to treat employees as a “single public” who share similar characteristics, thus ignoring the different needs and expectations of employees. Employees could be differentiated and segmented regarding their attitudes toward internal social media.

This study found that employees’ attitudes toward internal social media may vary due to varying degrees of individual factors (e.g., stress, information load), social factors (e.g., social capital), organizational factors (e.g., perceived organizational support), and technical factors (e.g., perceived ease of use).


The authors conducted a nationwide online survey of 500 German employees in October 2020. During the data collection period, many employees were working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the respondents, 49% were female and 51% were male. The participants represented a wide range of industries, had worked in their organizations for an average of approximately 12 years, and had an average age of 44.

Key Findings

1. The results revealed that technological, organizational, and social factors significantly determined the internal social media user segments.

        a. Individual factors, on the other hand, had empirically no influence on the building of the segments.

2. The technological design of internal social media was a strong predictor of its anticipated use.

3. Employees with privacy concerns regarding internal social media did not intend to use it due to an anticipated loss of information privacy to their employer. 

Implications for practice

Organizations need to 1) identify employee attitudes toward internal social media and adapt the platform accordingly, and 2) pay particular attention to elaborating and communicating the advantages and purpose of internal social media while also counteracting uncertainty among employees.


Ecklebe, S., & Löffler, N. (2022). Who does (not) want to engage in internal social media? Employees’ segmentation into different user types. Public Relations Review, 48(5), 102249.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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