Jul 16 2012

Why Your Boss Should Not Ban Facebook

Category: social mediaTom Shivers


Breaking Down Negative Perceptions of Social Media

Many people think that social media tools are a time drain, with resultant decrease in productivity. A recent study commissioned by Google and conducted by Milward Brown has found this way of thinking to be totally inaccurate. In fact, social media tools have increased the level of productivity substantially and those who make active use of social media in their jobs have not only found themselves to be more productive, but their bosses have noticed as well. Of professionals surveyed, 86% who actively used social media as part of their work strategy had recently been promoted.

Social Technologies the Secret to Business Success?

The survey interviewed thousands of professionals across Europe and the United Kingdom regarding the use of social media tools by business professionals in the workplace. The results are very interesting and relatively unexpected. The report released by Google called How Social Technologies Drive Success is easily available and provides an interesting insight into the changing nature of the workplace. One point that is strongly emphasised in the report is that rather than a way for lower level employees to waste time, social media tools are most commonly used by senior management. Furthermore, of the professionals interviewed the vast majority believed that companies that are not utilising social networking tools are probably doomed to failure.

Two main points were raised explaining how these technologies are making professionals more productive:

1)     Finding People, Education and Expertise

Social media is a remarkably powerful tool underestimated by many people. Firstly, on sites like Twitter people tend to keep their tweets and information industry specific. It is therefore the fastest way to keep track of what is going on in the industry and what industry leaders are saying and doing. Social media sites also tend to be communities where people help one another out – toss a question out into any social media site and you will be amazed at the number of people genuinely trying to help you. It is also a great tool for getting into contact with people you would never otherwise be able to.

2)     Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

There are two ’80s corporate key words here that have been jet-fuelled by social technologies; they are networking and brainstorming. It is now easy to network with individuals in the same profession as you even if they are miles away. Good relationships are built between two strangers in the same industry who have never met before and live in different countries. The benefits of this are mind blowing, and include between better chances of finding great jobs, sharing information, building contacts, and increasing client base. The same applies to brainstorming. This means that time and resources do not have to be set aside for all senior managers of a certain company to brainstorm ideas; they can do it anytime from anywhere, and include anyone.

Someone once commented that maybe the fantasy/science fiction idea of humans communicating via telepathy from different geographical locations is not that far-fetched, especially when you factor the internet and social media into the equation. This is a good point. It is possible to run into an obstacle at work, take your phone out, type a question into the ‘ether’, and get a response in seconds from people who are guaranteed to know. When you think of it like that, it should come as no surprise that social media boosts productivity rather than decreasing it.

Natalie Simon is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Natalie writes on a range of topics, including the diversity of IT job opportunities online.

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