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October 8, 2009 Social Media

No More Social Networking – That’s an Order! Why Companies are Scared of Social Media?

As per a recent study, it was found that over 50% of U.S. workplaces blocked social networks like Facebook and Twitter, 19% permitted for business purposes only, 16% permitted for limited personal use and 10% permitted for any type of personal use. While the digital revolution in the 21st century purely suggests companies to embrace the technology for enhanced productivity, marketing & communication purposes, and cost-savings; the results from the survey come as a big surprise.

But, you can’t blame companies restricting their employees from accessing such sites where employees take their work lightly. Like every coin has two sides, so does the social technology! What matters here is the “Attitude towards Work”. Let me elaborate the situation as to what could be the reason behind clamping down on social networking:

1)    Revealing Business Information: Social networking gives complete liberty to users to post what they think, feel and experience in their daily life. It is also found out that several employees reveal important company details or criticize their immediate superiors, thereby creating problems for the company and themselves.

2)    Wasting Office Hours: Who doesn’t like talking to friends, watching videos for long hours, going through silly puns, gossiping through chats, using apps that suck away most of the time, etc.? It has been found that companies who give complete liberty to their workforce often find them wasting time on such activities for too long. At the end of the day, all that they deliver is the minimum work they were supposed to do, thereby hampering the productivity levels and adding nothing new to the company.

3)    Taking Things Lightly: You have received important e-mails and tasks to do for the day, but that doesn’t matter so long as you make a status update on Facebook, or see an 8 – 10 minutes video that your friend has posted on his profile. This situation is not uncommon in companies where employees take their work lightly, and give priority to their social life than to work.

Finally, it all boils down to one important aspect that no one can change, except for the person himself – ‘ATTITUDE TOWARDS WORK’. It’s upto people to take up the responsibility and use the social technology the right way!

As per a consulting firm, following are the tips that could be undertaken to protect your professional reputation when using social networking sites:

•    Know what’s allowed. Make sure you understand and adhere to your company’s social networking policy.
•    Use caution. Be familiar with each site’s privacy settings to ensure personal details or photos you post can be viewed only by people you choose.
•    Keep it professional. Use social networking sites while at work to make connections with others in your field or follow industry news — not to catch up with family or friends.
•    Stay positive. Avoid complaining about your manager and coworkers. Once you’ve hit submit or send, you can’t always take back your words — and there’s a chance they could be read by the very people you’re criticizing.
•    Polish your image. Tweet or blog about a topic related to your profession. You’ll build a reputation as a subject matter expert, which could help you advance in your career.
•    Monitor yourself. Even if your employer has a liberal policy about social networking, limit the time you spend checking your Facebook page or reading other people’s tweets to avoid a productivity drain.

So, the problem is understood and the solutions are available. It all depends on how companies take this up and use the social technology for future development..

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