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The adoption of social media is growing among the nation's largest corporations: 22% of the 2009 Fortune 500 companies have public-facing blogs with a post in the past 12 months, and 35% have active registered Twitter accounts with a tweet sent within the past 30 days, according to a study from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Three of the top 5 largest corporations—Wal-Mart, Chevron, and General Electric—have active public-facing blogs, while four of the top 5—Wal-Mart, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and General Electric—consistently send tweets on their Twitter accounts.

Below, other findings from The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America's Largest Companies.

Blogs by Industry

Among the Fortune 500, the 108 companies that maintain blogs come from a cross-section of industries:

Below, a partial list showing those industries with the greatest blog presence and representative sample of companies within the industry:

  • Computer Software, Peripherals, and Office Equipment companies have the most blogs (11), and include companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and Xerox.
  • Specialty Retail companies have seven blogs; they include Home Depot, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, and BJ's Wholesale.
  • Telecommunications companies have six blogs; they include AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Comcast.
  • Food Production, Services, and Drug Stores companies have six blogs; they include Safeway, McDonald's, Tyson, General Mills, Whole Foods Market, and Hershey.

Rank continues to influence the adoption of blogging among the Fortune 500: The top 100 companies on the list account for 39% of the Fortune 500 blogs, whereas those ranked 101-200 make up 19%.

High Level of Blog Interaction

Nine in ten Fortune 500 blogs take comments, have RSS feeds, and take subscriptions. In addition, 86% are linked directly to a corporate Twitter account—over three times the level recorded in 2008.

Comparison With the Inc. 500

Fortune 500 rankings are based on total revenue, not growth, and may include public and private companies, whereas the Inc. 500 includes the fastest-growing private companies in the US.

Nearly one-half (45%) of Inc. 500 companies maintain a blog, compared with 22% of Fortune 500 companies.

However, both groups registered increases of six percentage points in their blogging activity in 2009 compared with levels recorded in 2008.


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Corporate Twitter Presence

Over one-third (35%) of the primary corporations listed on the 2009 Fortune 500 have a Twitter account and have tweeted within the previous 30 days.*

Among the Fortune 500, the 173 companies with registered Twitter accounts come from a cross-section of industries.

Below, a partial list showing those industries with the greatest Twitter presence and a representative sample of companies within the industry:

  • Insurance: 13 Twitter accounts, including those of Allstate, TIAA-CREF, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, and Northwestern Mutual.
  • Food Production, Services, Drug Stores, and Consumer Products: 11 Twitter accounts, including those of Kroger, Walgreens, and McDonald's.
  • Computer Software, Peripherals, Office Equipment: 10 Twitter accounts, including those of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
  • Specialty Retail: 10 Twitter accounts, including those of Home Depot and Lowe's.
  • Telecommunications: 10 Twitter accounts, including those of AT&T and Verizon.
  • Utilities: 10 Twitter accounts, including those of Dominion Resources and Duke Energy.

Twitter Accounts by Fortune 500 Rank

Rank continues to influence the adoption of Twitter: The top 100 companies of the Fortune 500 account for 27% of the 173 Twitter accounts, whereas those ranked 101-200 make up 20% of those with a Twitter account.

High Level of Twitter Interaction

Over two-thirds (69%) of Fortune 500 Twitter accounts demonstrate a high level of interaction, having consistently responded with @replies or retweets within the previous 30 days. Among this active group, the accounts are kept current with news and information, and there is consistent interaction with other users and ongoing discussions that are easy to follow.

Use of Video and Podcasting

The use of video and podcasting is increasing among the Fortune 500: 31% use video to enhance their blog, up from 21% in the previous year, and 19% use podcasting, up from 16%.


*Four of the companies (Boeing, Footlocker, FPL Group, and Winn-Dixie Stores) had their tweets protected and required a request to view their profile. Since posts within the last 30 days could not be verified, they were excluded from the tally. Nine of the companies (Baker Hughes, CIT Group, Computer Sciences, Delta Air Lines, Ecolab, Manitowoc, Mattel, MeadWestvaco, and Union Pacific) with corporate Twitter accounts had not posted within the past 30 days, so they were excluded from the analysis since they did not meet the definition.

About the data: Findings are from The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America's Largest Companies, conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and Eric Mattson CEO, Financial Insite. The data was collected in October and November 2009.

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