Have you ever used social media at work? Chances are likely yes. It’s seems like the vast majority of our society is pinned down underneath the death grip that is known as social media. Since it either exists or augments nearly every aspect of our life it should come to no surprise that social media use in the workplace is common and often a distraction. Technology has always had a “pros” and “cons” column, with markings on each side of the T-chart. Same can be said about social media use in the workplace; it has pros and cons. In recent years, I’ve been fascinated with Germany’s economy and their outlook on employment. Recently, Germany’s workers won the right to a 28-hour work week. Isn’t that incredible? Germany is an economic powerhouse with a low inflation rate, the 4th nominal GDP worldwide, highly educated population, and the list goes on! (here is more info).
You want to know another interesting statistic about Germany’s workforce? Germany is leading the world in the least amount of social media use at work. They also have the fewest amount of internet users using social media. I might be trying to connect two dots without proven cause and effect here, but I think something can be said about the level of productivity, the shrinking work week, and booming economy to the absence of social media at work.
Well, let’s go back to our metaphorical T-chart from two paragraphs ago. We the cons of social media use at work have been covered here, but the pros have not. Since social media use is so prevalent in our lives in the United States it is a vital way how we stay connected. There is undoubtedly ways that social media helps if used properly at work. Professional networking groups are dime a dozen all across Facebook, LinkedIn is a social media site dedicated to professional connections an career building, and Twitter is a great marketing tool. The internet is a tool for marketing today much like magazines were a marketing tool 50 years ago. A section of an assigned reading for school I recently read discussed the similarities from a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People and marketing books written today. If used properly, social media can be used as a communication tool to benefit an organization or company. But, sadly, most of the time we end up wasting time looking at cat memes and getting into politically charged fights with strangers.
There is a middle ground somewhere out there, we just need to adjust our behavior and our habits built around technology use.