Our Exclusive Survey of 285 Association Meetings readers tells us that you are predominantly women (74 percent), that 79 percent of you regularly use LinkedIn, and that 12 percent of you have gotten a job interview through your connections.

Facebook captures an average of three hours of your time per week (with only 5 percent of that being for professional use), and 33 percent of you use Twitter for professional reasons. Read on to see how ubiquitous social media has become in planners' lives, both professionally and personally.

LinkedIn

The most popular form of social media among meeting planners, LinkedIn is used by 81 percent of Association Meetings readers to create an online network of existing business contacts and to make new connections. Interestingly, though it's promoted as an important tool for job hunting, only 12 percent of respondents said they've gotten an interview though a LinkedIn connection and just 5 percent have found a job.

Networking appears to be readers' main use for LinkedIn: The majority said they rarely post anything (64 percent) or use it less than one hour a week (55 percent). Many belong to various LinkedIn discussion groups, including Meeting Professionals International's Meetings and Events Discussion Group, the Professional Convention Management Association group, and our own MeetingsNet group.

While slightly more women than men use LinkedIn, the guys were the ones with the most connections: Those with more than 500 connections tended to be male and between 40 and 49 years old.

Facebook

Facebook clearly crosses the line between personal and professional, according to our survey. In fact, 61 percent of Association Meetings readers said they use it to stay in touch with industry friends — people who are not just professional connections. It's also becoming widely used to promote special events (62 percent) and meetings (59 percent).

Association Meetings readers still log onto Facebook more frequently for personal use (56 percent do so daily) than for professional use (34 percent do so daily). In fact, Facebook captures an average of three hours of their time per week (with only 5 percent of that being for professional use).

Men were the heaviest users of Facebook, but not by much. Twenty-nine percent of AM Facebook users who are men and 25 percent who are women spend more than 10 hours a week on theirs.

Twitter

Only about one in four Association Meetings respondents who use Twitter log on daily for personal use. Some people separate their Twitter accounts between professional and personal: 33 percent have an account for professional use only, 15 percent for personal use only, and 32 percent keep two separate accounts.

Twitter helps 57 percent of respondents keep up with industry news and events, and 70 percent said they tweet during their events. You might hear about people who have thousands of followers and tweet nonstop, but that's high for our industry: The median number of followers for AM Twitter users was 79 and they had tweeted 72 times since opening their accounts.

Twitter use is highest among younger, but not the youngest, respondents. In fact, the respondents who tweet the most frequently tend to be between 30 and 39 years of age (39 percent of whom tweet daily), while just 25 percent of those in the 20-to-25 age bracket tweet daily.

YouTube

YouTube has made its way into professional use as well, with 43 percent of AM YouTube users having a professional account (41 percent use it for personal purposes only). Association Meetings readers who use YouTube do so to post event videos (64 percent) or to promote their special events and meetings (44 percent).

Blogs

Blogs are used by only 40 percent of Association Meetings readers, primarily to promote and build a community around a meeting or event (82 percent), followed by positioning oneself as a meetings industry expert (71 percent). Forty-one percent of bloggers also follow industry blogs written by others.

Methodology

On February 15, 2012, Penton Research e-mailed invitations to participate in an online survey to 67,007 subscribers, 14,732 of whom subscribe to Association Meetings magazine and the rest of whom are readers of MeetingsNet's other magazines — Corporate Meetings & Incentives and Medical Meetings. By March 5, 2012, Penton Research had received a total of 792 responses — 285 of those from Association Meetings readers, for a 2 percent response rate. Look for additional findings at meetingsnet.com.

Who Answered?

Our average Association Meetings respondent was a 50-YEAR-OLD FEMALE, with 14 YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE. In her job, she tends to use LINKEDIN the most regularly (79 percent), followed by Facebook (61 percent).