Social networking has exploded across the Internet in recent years. The sites allow individuals to present themselves and focus on social networking, meeting and connecting with others and can range from work-related contexts to friend-based and special interest networks (Delouise, 2009). With the growing popularity of social networking sites the past few years companies have had to decide whether or not to adopt the sites into the workplace.
Employers should not be allowed to restrict employees’ access to social networking sites during work hours because they are powerful, effective, communication tools, which enable employees’ ability to connect with others. Social networking allows organizations to improve communication and productivity among employees, enhances global communication, and is necessary in order to keep up with competitors. Social networking sites should not be restricted because they provide an improved method of communication to organizations and lead to higher productivity.
According to his journal on social networking, Marketing and Management professor Reynaldo Lugtu says, “Social networking also enhances personal bonding among employees, especially in virtual teams. In today’s workplace where team members are scattered in different locations, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter enhance team bonding and communication, which are otherwise difficult to achieve. ” (Lugtu, 2010) On social networking sites employees can post news, discuss ideas, ask questions and share links allowing them to find more relevant information more quickly.
Social networking sites are great problem solvers as well because they open up the communication to an entire community (Lugtu, 2010) According to a 2009 University of Melbourne report, “Surfing Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at work could actually increase concentration levels and increase workforce productivity. ” People who browsed the websites for less than 20% of their workday were 9% more productive than those who did not view the sites. The study claims that the fact the working day was broken up by the breaks to surf to the social etworking sites resulted in the increased productivity. One might think that time spent surfing social networking sites might decrease employee productivity, however when the employee takes a short break from their usual work tasks, they are able to return with a clear mind. Social networking sites aim to distribute information more freely and make it available to different groups of employees in order to have more open information throughout the entire company. The use of social networking sites should not be restricted because they help to enhance global communication.
Communication theorist, Marshall McLuhan, who’s responsible for Media Ecology Theory which, “centers on the principles that society cannot escape the influence of technology and that technology will remain central to virtually all walks of life. ” He examines this notion further in the assumptions forming the theory in which he states, “Media tie the world together. ” McLuhan used, “global village, to describe how media tie the world into one great political, economic, social and cultural system…electronic media, in particular, have the ability to bridge cultures that would not have communicated prior to this connection. Twitter is a good example of a social networking site improving global communication. Twitter recently announced two improvements that will expand their global platform into 6 new cities and 13countries, along with ability to see translations of Tweets. These social networking sites are taking global communication to the next level. Although different communities in different parts of the world can already communicate and remain connected, social networking sites are making long-distance communication easier and more accessible.
With social networking sites two people on opposite sides of the world can communicate without having to do it simultaneously. Social networking sites also improve technology by breaking down barriers. Anna-Christina Douglas, a product-marketing manager at Google, says, “What’s important is that the technology is allowing communication, collaboration and content sharing to become on and the same. These tools bring human delight by breaking down barriers. ” (Frontiers, 2010).
Companies who are using social media sites are breaking away from the limits of one-way communication and traditional marketing resulting in much better overall customer communication. (Frontiers, 2010). Companies must integrate social networking sites into their company if they want to stay on par with competing companies. Internet restrictions in the workplace will hinder a company’s ability to keep up with their competition. According to a survey by Ordance Survey, two-thirds of managers block their employee’s use of Internet hours to anything deemed irrelevant to the office during working hours (Carvel, J. (2008).
The Chartered Management institute said, “The censoring of employees’ web browsing was an example of old-fashioned thinking in boardrooms where senior executives have not caught up with the business benefits of exploiting new technology. ” The survey reported a generation gap in Internet technology use. Jan Hutchison, human resources director at Ordance Survey, said, “The low-level adoption of new technology runs in tandem with employers’ belief that Internet usage is a timewaster. The longer this situation is allowed to remain unchallenged, the greater likelihood UK employers will fall behind their international competitors. Hutchison recognizes the differences between generations and technology adoption. Social networking has an entirely different meaning to Generation Y than prior generations. Since Generation Y group up with this technology, adapting to new technology is a very small situation. Older, less likely to adopt generations are the ones that are having a harder time adopting, and a company who does not do so will loose a competitive edge over a company who does. Companies restricting social networking will have a hard time keeping up with competition because of the sites extreme growth in popularity.
In a 2009 survey, The Nielsen Company showed that more people are using social media than email and Forrester Research projects that companies will spend $3. 1 billion by 2014 on social media. George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research says, “Social marketing is here to stay. It’s time for you to understand it. ” Therefore if you don’t adopt the social networking sites into your company, you will have fewer tools than your competitors do. (Delouise, 2009). As a leader one must embrace new technology. (Delouise, 2009) Social networking sites provide an improved method of communication to organizations and improve overall efficiency.
The sites also encourage global communication making it more convenient and accessible. Companies who do not adopt social networking sites will be at a disadvantage to competitors who do adopt. Employers should not be allowed to restrict employees’ access to social networking sites during work hours because they are powerful, effective, communication tools, which enable employees’ ability to connect with others. With the growing popularity and advantages social networking sites can offer companies, employers should absolutely think twice before restricting employees’ access to social networking sites during work hours.
Carvel, J. (2008). Most employers restrict staff time on internet | Technology | The Guardian . Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian. co. uk . Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://www. guardian. co. uk/technology/2008/dec/02/workplace-internet-monitoring-blocked-access Delouise, A. (2009). Ban Social Media from the Workplace? « Amy’s Brand Buzz. Amy’s Brand Buzz. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from http://amydelouise. wordpress. com/2009/09/15/ban-social-media-from-the-workplace/ Frontiers of Collaboration: The Evolution of Social Networking – Arabic [email protected] 2010). [email protected] Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://knowledge. wharton. upenn. edu/arabic/article. cfm? articleid=2502 Lugtu, R. (2010). Articles, essays, and talks: Social networking. Articles, essays, and talks. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://rlugtu. blogspot. com/2010/10/social-networking. html McLuhan, M. (1962). Understanding media. New York: Retrieved December 1, 2010 The Nielsen Company, March 9, 2009. Social networks & blogs now 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal email