It varies quite a lot how much companies allow their employees to use social media in office hours. You still find businesses which regard social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as a complete waste of time which should be left for off business hours. Before disregarding social media as irrelevant, it would be wise to consider a couple of valid points.
Back maybe only 10 years ago you would ask your colleagues if you needed information in order to do your work. If that didn’t work, you would ask your boss. All knowledge was kept inside the company and only when you directly paid someone to teach you , you would get information from the outside. Very rarely did you share information freely among companies and employees.
It’s not like that anymore.
There could be information, that has to be kept inside the company walls for competitive reasons, but a lot of ressources are freely available on the Internet if you use Twitter, Google+, etc and if you keep an eye on what’s going on. And the younger the employees, the more likely it is that they see social media as a given in their way of working and collecting knowledge.
As a company, it’s important to consider the use of social media as much more important that just personal chit chat, because you run the risk of missing out on valuable information and trends. Plus, you risk scaring off younger employees, who won’t understand that this is even an issue.
Both Twitter og Google+for example are constructed so that you don’t necessarily know the people you follow. You may never have met them or even e-mailed with them, but you follow them out of sheer interest. If you’re quick on the uptake, it’s possible for you to follow the latest trends and news in your area of expertise. And you will be able to keep yourself informed in a completely different speed than if you had to depend on random seminars.
You will only know about all of these great opportunities if you keep track of the news in your field and what’s going on. And you won’t be able to do just that if you’re stuck in an old routine with only internal information streams.
The fact is that even if companies ban or limit the use of social media during work hours, people will still use it. Either in all secrecy at work or after hours. And the question is, what’s best for the company: That it is discussed out in the open or that the employees write all sorts of things which can potentially damage the company?
An employee who is active on the Internet is part of the image of the company whether the company approves or not.
So why not embrace it and have an honest discussion about ethics on social media in relation to the company?
What’s the deal at your work – are you allowed to use social media at work? I would love to hear from you.
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