Productivity & Social Media

Another stupid study about wasted work time and spilling company secrets from the Telegraph:

More than half of office workers use sites like Twitter and Facebook for personal use during the working day, and admit wasting an average of 40 minutes a week each.

One in three of the 1,460 office workers surveyed also said they had seen sensitive company information posted on social networking sites, leading to fears about how workers use the internet.

Philip Wicks, consultant at Morse, the IT services and technology company who commissioned the survey, said the true cost to the economy could be substantially higher than the :£1.38bn estimate.

Oh bah. Twitter and Facebook are social. Like the coffee station at work is social. Like the water cooler is social. Like the printer is social. They are gathering places for where people already talk. And everyone talks at work.

The concern with social media isn’t the time, it’s the ability to spread a message. Where office conversations can be like the game Telephone–one message to one person, one by one, and by the end, it’s distorted–social media can multiply a message exponentially. I tell my 10,000 “friends” on Twitter and they tell thousands more of their friends.

Even with this, though, there is a feedback loop. Often, when a message is spread via Social Media, a link goes with the “gossip”. A person who lies, distorts and spreads disinformation can achieve social pariah status pretty quickly. [Exception: Andrew Sullivan] Not so, in an office. The office gossip can be annoying, but most people deal with him or her because the information can be useful and powerful. And even still, these dynamics play out online and offline.

People are people. Work gets mental interruptions almost all of the time. That people take a few minutes for Twitter or Facebook is just another version of the same. Listen, the day that social media loving workers take as much time as those who take smoking breaks, there can be a conversation. In the meantime, bashing social media is just the latest way for bosses to obsess about their worker production.

P.S. There’s a recession. Most people are working very hard to keep their job. The bigger concern these days, I’m guessing, is burnout, not lost productivity. If anything, there isn’t enough play and too much work at work.

H/T TechCrunch

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