Blog Post #1: Social Media: Outdated or Is this only the starting point?

 social_media

Social Media: Outdated or is this only the starting point?

Undeniably, our society has always set a trend to moving forward. Within the past two decades, the era of technology has been rising faster than anything we have ever witnessed. Social media has lead the way of communication through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google plus, and Linked-in. These sites were very restrictive.  They were used only by closed groups.  Every member had to receive an invitation from previously engaged members, or became a member by belonging to an institution like a school or workplace.  While these sites used to remain within our personal private lives at first, later on they appear to be making a stride in the workplace environment. Now the question remains: Do the benefits outweigh the risk?

The advocates for social media believe that we are able to reach out to more people.  Thus we are influencing people with our point of view.  It is true that using these sites; we are able to interact with far more people without borders.  Another advantage of using social media is that companies can reach large parties without the expenses to reach out to people.  It leads coworkers to connect more and work like a real team. Additionally, social media is also widely used for humanitarian, social causes, and as awareness tool.  In this capacity, the community will become aware of the company’s involvement in their lives.  Moreover, social media is widely used by businesses to advertise their services, and products to a targeted audience.  This is making the work of public relations way easier and cheaper.   The companies would be able to target the following demographics: gender, race, income, geographic location, crime and more.

In the workplace social media can also be challenging at times. Besides being used for the benefits of the corporation, social media also comes with some very negative impacts.  Too many employees accessing those social media sites at once will surely jam the network.  Further, jamming the network come with a total loss of productivity.  While the employees are on the payroll, they end up not working as expected.  This is one of the major issues accompanying social media in the work place: Distraction.  Another major issue is some program associated with some social networks might be hacking.  These forms of hacking may also cause breach of security. The easiest port of entry could be social media.  The same way social media help the relationship in the workplace, it also has the potential to hurt coworkers’ relations as well. All in all, it may come down to managing the company reputation and image. A classic case is the release of confidential information by accident causing the loss of value of the shareholder’s stocks. It is the responsibility of everyone to be responsible.  This is the reason why companies agreeing to the use of social media also have a social media policy to protect the image and reputation of their institutions.

With a newly found understanding of the negatives of social media in the workplace I can now look as to why I think it proves to be more beneficial to be connected on social servers at work. According to Andrew Keen from CNN, in a recent study at the University of Melbourne, it was proven that social media at work allows people to be more productive as it also opens up the intellectual capacity. It brings the possibility to group solve problems as a team and allows people to be more elaborate and “gives us an ESP-like sense of what other people are thinking”. (ESP is much like a sixth sense or being able to pick up what people around you wants). One of the articles mentioned below (More than One-Third of Fortune 500 Companies Have Blogs) has shed a light on the statistics of blogs and social media in the workplace, for example forty percent of the “Fortune 500 Companies” that use social media are in the top 200, seventy-seven percent of these 500 companies use twitter and seventy percent use Facebook. If you ask me it has become undoubtedly shown that social media has a key part in helping workers to expand beyond certain limits and connect with their peers in a more comfortable environment. With all new ideas exist small potential flaws but given time employees will learn the right way to take on this new task. This will allow us to continue moving into the digital age.

Sources cited:

Guerin, Lisa. (n.d.). Fired for blogging: Learn whether employees can be fired for what they write in a blog, MySpace, or Facebook page. NOLO: Law for All. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fired-blogging-29762.html

Dodge, Amanda. (2013). More than one-third of Fortune 500 companies have blogs. CopyPressed.http://www.copypress.com/blog/more-than-one-third-of-fortune-500-companies-have-blogs/

Keen, Andrew. (2012). 5 reasons not to ban social media in the office.  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/03/business/opinion-keen-social-media-office/

3 thoughts on “Blog Post #1: Social Media: Outdated or Is this only the starting point?”

  1. While I agree with your conclusion that the benefits of social media outweigh the risk for both companies and employees, I respectfully disagree with a few of your supporting premises. I agree that social media greatly diminishes the cost of public relations and allows companies to reach a larger portion of their target demographics, I disagree with the proposition that social media “leads coworkers to connect more and work like a real team.” I realize that my disagreement is based on one’s definition of “real team,” yet I would argue that social media does the exact opposite of what you propose. Social media allows people to sit behind a computer while communicating with one another. In my humble opinion, employees would be better served sitting in a room communicating with one another face to face, not behind a computer. Turning to social media in the work place: I feel that many of the negative issues about social media in the work place derive from an employee’s lack of professionalism, not social media. If an employee displays a lack of productivity because they’ re updating their Facebook profile all day, as an employer, I can’t blame Marc Zuckerburg, I blame the employee. Part of being a professional requires knowing when to work and knowing when to update your location. All in all, I found your blog insightful and personally feel…”this is only the starting point!”

    1. I agree with LTERTULIEN1 that it is possible for social media to allow employees to connect with one another and build more meaningful relationships with one another. When you walk outside and look around, what do you see? Almost everyone is looking down at an iPhone or tablet or laptop… It is clear that the world is moving toward a culture where more and more communication is done through the internet rather than face to face.

      You say that “Social media allows people to sit behind a computer while communicating with one another”, but is that necessarily a new thing? Much of the office communication consisted of emails and memos before things like Skype, Twitter, and Facebook came along. Social media allows the individuals in a company to interact in a much more dynamic way. Now instead of sending out an email memo for a company picnic, for example, I can make an event page on Facebook and send everyone an invite through there. Then, people can post on the event page wall, rsvp to the event, post pictures from the event, and more. It also allows employees to connect outside of work and learn about each other’s personal lives. To me, this type of interaction between the individuals within a company is much more conducive to their building of positive relationships with their coworkers than a simple email thread.

      I do agree, though, that social media can cause issues in the workplace if it is overused or takes away from an individual’s productivity. But like you said, this “derive[s] from an employee’s lack of professionalism”, and therefore it is an individual problem. Everyone in a company should not be punished because of one or two individual’s lack of self-control. Some people spend too much time in the break room, but that doesn’t mean companies should take them away. They should just deal with the irresponsible individuals accordingly. Social media should be handled the same way.

    2. I disagree with the idea that employees would communicate better if they talked face to face instead of through a blog. Gathering employees into a large room and asking them how they feel about certain ideas is not efficient, because the only people that will speak out are the talkative, outgoing ones. Many people fear speaking out in public and are not comfortable with sharing their ideas in front of their peers. Blogging is an effective means of communication for everybody involved in a company. Being behind a screen gives many people the courage to share thoughts that they are unable to share in person. Blogging gives all employees an equal opportunity to express themselves.
      However, I agree that most negativity concerning social media in the workplace is due to lack of professionalism among employees. When blogging, employees should pay attention to what they say, in the same way they would filter what they say in person. If you wouldn’t insult your boss in person, then don’t do it on a blog. However, in order for blogging to remain an effective means of communication for a company, freedom of speech must be respected. If a company seeks to encourage communication among its employees, it must provide its employees with the freedom to state their concerns without fear of repercussion; companies should not be allowed to punish employees who make statements that the company disapproves of.

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