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26 November 2009

Social media, Twitter, Facebook and so on

"Surfing the net at work for pleasure actually increases our concentration levels and helps make a more productive workforce, according to a new University of Melbourne study."

See the original article here, and an HBR elaboration on why social media is good for your work productivity here.

I have stated that I don't think social media helps people do their job.  Earlier this year I was at a dinner with Matthew Hodgson where he told the table about how social media users were more productive at work.  I didn't believe him and argued against it (not particularly well, mind you.)

One of my contradictions is the fact that I publish this blog and am thus a user of social media.  And I read other blogs and correspond with other project people online.  I believe it has increased my knowledge substantially.

I suppose I did not count this channel (or mail groups, or online discussion forums) as social media.  After all they have been around for a few years now and are fairly mainstream tools.

However, Twitter, Facebook and the other newspapaer headline grabbers have me wondering about value.  I've used both Twitter and Facebook but see them more as channels that I can't keep up with, an maybe more relevant to non-professional interactions.  Too much volume, not enough content, too hard to keep with.

In order to keep up I need to defer other work tasks.

Of course better tools would help, but I work in a conservative corporate environment where tools are generally locked down (and several social media channels are locked out.)  So I am unable to test some of the more advanced social media tools.  I am also busy and will find it hard to learn new tools and practices in my almost non-existant spare time.

This Melbourne University article does make me pause and reflect on my biases though.  Maybe I do need to change.

And of course I do use social media, and it has helped me get better at my job.