As the growth in Social Media platforms increases steadily many are questioning the impact that their use may have on productivity in the workplace. Another issue is the affect that ill considered communications by employees may have on the reputation of companies.
Consider the following views:
“While many businesses use social networking sites to find and communicate with clients, the sites can also prove a great distraction to employees who may show more interest in what their friends are posting than in their work tasks. Wired.com posted two studies which demonstrated damage to productivity caused by social networking: Nucleus Research reported that Facebook shaves 1.5% off office productivity while Morse claimed that British companies lost 2.2 billion a year to the social phenomenon. New technology products have become available that allow social networks to be blocked, but their effectiveness remains spotty.” - http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effect-social-media-society-individuals-27617.html
“While the above studies show actual correlations between social networking and negative consequences, others argue that many other negative consequences may exist that have not yet been studied. Some of the harmful effects people suggest social networking has that have not yet yielded conclusive study results include:
- Encouraging poor grammar, usage, and spelling
- Allowing the spread of misinformation that may be perceived as fact even in light of evidence to the contrary
- Exposing children to online predators
- Creating a culture in which a single mistake such as a racy picture or poorly thought-out comment can cause irreparable harm to your reputation
- Decreasing productivity as workers habitually check social networking sites while they should be working
- Providing information that increases the risk of identity theft
- Creating a platform for cyber bullying” http://socialnetworking.lovetoknow.com/Negative_Impact_of_Social_Networking_Sites
The continuous stream of tweets emanating from some while at work points to more than the distractive nature of social media use but also to a resultant diminished productivity. The same applies to Facebook activities. As a result many companies have blocked access to Facebook and similar Social Media sites. The increase in the number of mobile devices that operate independently of company networks may render tactics like blocking ineffective – so the problem will remain.
There also seems to be less activity on Twitter and Facebook after working hours and on weekends. This could reinforce the negative views that some hold on the use Social Media in the workplace.
On Twitter, for example, many people give details in their ‘bios’ of who their employers are and the positions that they hold. When reading the tweets made by some I am sure that many must wonder; “is this the type of person employed by that organisation?” And then have a negative view of that organisation. Stating “my views are my own and not that of Co X” will not help in this regard. Even ‘retweets’ imply endorsement even though ‘bios’ may state “retweets are not an endorsement”.
The use of Social Media has an extremely important role to play in the marketing efforts of an enterprise. If used responsible by all who have access to it the use of Social Media can be beneficial in this regard.
“Social media has become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brand awareness and often, improved customer service. Additionally, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_marketing
One major challenge that remains is the production of good content.