Home > Sebastian, Social Media > Social Media – Boon or Bane for business?

Social Media – Boon or Bane for business?

Over 400 million people use facebook every day and that is only half of all registered users. There is no doubt that social media has become a part of our daily lives. Considering this impressive figure, it was only natural for social media usage to infiltrate the workplace. But does “facebooking” really add value to your work? The consensus made by employers appears to be a firm NO! So is it common practice to deny access to social sites from a firm’s intranet? Interestingly, entering the search term “how to use facebook at work without being caught”  into Google results in 1,840,000,000 hits, and I think this speaks for itself.

I have personally been in the situation where I established contact with a valuable business contact via my personal network on social media, but really, how many of the 700 billion minutes spent surfing our social media networks every week really add value to what we do at work?

On the other hand I just recently experienced the extreme opposite, when I started following an interesting user on Twitter. I had allocated my time to more worthwhile tasks, but I got side tracked reading articles this user tweeted, which appeared to be at a super human speed; but that shouldn’t be the point here.., the point I wanted to make is that the reasoning behind banning social media platforms appears to be reasonably sound – they are not productive, and their business value has not been proven. Despite this, there are those who are against companies banning social media usage at work.

I guess there are benefits of using social me in a professional capacity, which is evident in the existence of professional networks such as LinkedIn. Simply put, this is the business version of Facebook and its USP has a clear business benefit – improving and increasing an individual’s professional network.

Consequently, my suggestion is a strict separation of professional and casual social media. Even if some online platforms serve both purposes, two profiles could do the trick. But a separation not only by username, but also a timely and physical separation; leading to individuals only having to check casual networks in free time, even if they serve some professional purpose. It will not only make you stay more focused, it will also prevent you from getting fired for the misuse of your working hours for private purposes.

…with productivity in mind, I decided to unfollow the previously mentioned Twitter user, and I am now spending my time on more beneficial pursuits.

How do you organise your social media activities?

Categories: Sebastian, Social Media
  1. Jessie Kelly
    November 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Love the diagram! V. good.

  2. November 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not sure if there can really be a clear separation between personal and professional. I think there’s quite an expansive grey area where both uses overlap. Rather than autocratically dictating how individuals should utilise online networks, people need to display there own judgement on how they use social media in the workplace.

    I am completely for companies establishing clear guidelines on usage, as this can avoid nasty conflict further down the line, but employees must take responsibility for how they go about acting within those parameters. If you’re updating your Facebook status whilst on the payroll, you need to be able to justify the business benefit for doing so.

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