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In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, social networks were mainly used as a way for individuals to interact wi...
In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, social networks were mainly used as a way for individuals to interact with each other. As such, their use in business environments was typically frowned upon, and seen as a waste of valuable “company time.”
Strangely enough, LinkedIn, the business-focused social network, has actually been around for longer than both Facebook and Twitter, predating Facebook by a year and Twitter by three years. However, it wasn’t until the other networks gained momentum that it became widely accepted that social networking had a valuable place in the business world, as well as in people’s private lives.
This is the backdrop against which we ask the question of just how productive social networking is in the workplace.
There is certainly evidence to back up the fact that people waste time on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. A Forbes study in 2013 revealed that 64% of employees use the Web for non work-related reasons, and over half of them cited Facebook as a key distraction.
With 32% of the people surveyed admitting to spending over two hours a week on their distractions, it’s clear that social networking can have a negative effect on productivity. However, this is perhaps an oversimplification of the issue.
On the other side of this coin is the fact that there are now plenty of valid business reasons for spending time on social networks, such as:
Engaging with customers via Twitter.
Marketing a business using a Facebook page.
Networking with business contacts using LinkedIn.
With most businesses doing some or all of the above, it’s clear that banning social networking in the workplace is usually an unwise strategy.
Employees spending their days uploading holiday photos is clearly unproductive, but using social networks for company purposes can also be a valid way to boost a business.
If you run your own company, the real question is where and how you draw the line.