Social Media – Consider the Pros and Cons
Before I try to qualify this statement for you, I have some statistics to share with you about social media….and when you read these, please think about the demographic makeup of your workplace.

  • 83% of 18 to 29 year olds are active in social media
  • 70% of people ages 30 to 49 are active in social media
  • 51% of people over who are 50+ are active in social media
  • Social networks  reach 82% of the world’s internet users
  • Every 60 seconds: 6,600 Flickr photos are shared
  • Every 60 seconds: 7,610 LinkedIn connections are shared
  • Every 60 seconds: 66,000 Twitter connections are shared
  • Every 60 seconds: 695,000 Face Book connections are shared and
  • Every 60 seconds: 2,000,000 YouTube videos are shared.
  • In October 2012, people spent 6.7 Billion hours on Social Networking

By the way: all of these numbers continue to grow each and every day.
So, when are all these things being shared? When is this activity occurring?
One glimpse into the answer has come from a recent study into the use of smart phones, and concluded  that people look at their smart phones up to 110 times a day, and up to once every 5 seconds in the evening, for some users. The peak time for activity was recorded between 5pm and 8pm but not far behind were the business hours of 9am to 5pm. This means that employees are busy on their smart phones whilst in the workplace.
I’m sure that no one is shocked by this news, but what is needed in order to ensure that such usage is appropriate and only done at appropriate times within the work day, is a robust Social Media policy. Especially when you see headlines like this.
Employees have an obligation to use their time wisely when they’re at work, but employees have been fired for posting inappropriate comments about their clients, colleagues, supervisors, or employers.
The usual argument against any disciplinary action is that employees contend that their posts are ‘private’. The fact that they lost their jobs and lost the argument to have those employees reinstated, tells you what the result of their protests were.
For the sake of safety, employees should assume that anyone and everyone can and will read what they text, post, tweet, or share. If there is even the tiniest chance that it could cause offence: DON’T DO IT.
Those three small words could save you (and everyone else) a world of grief and hurt.
In my next blog (how ironic) I will examine what should go into an ideal Social Media Policy and the need for a focus on Respect within it.