These 4 recent revelations about employee use of social media may surprise you (or not)

Social Media

Number 1: Eric often resorts to click-bait headlines, especially when his wife’s only post on this blog receives lots of hits and reader accolades. And, Eric’s only accolades sound something like, “Oh, in real life you’re not as short as I thought you’d be.”

Ok, that doesn’t count as a revelation.

Instead, let’s focus on some of the findings from this recent Pew Research Center report on Social Media and the Workplace:

  1. Most employees use social media at work to decompress (as opposed to, I dunno, do work). Thirty-four percent reported using social media at work to “take a mental break from work.” But, of the eight different choices offered to respondents, many did select work related uses such as “get information that helps solve problems at work,” or using social media for networking. Thus, it seems like employees can social network and remain relatively productive.
  2. More workers trolling co-worker social media form a lower opinion of their co-workers (rather than a higher one).  Clearly, this survey did not extend to my firm, Dilworth Paxson, and this blog. [I’ll let you complete the punch line]. However, most respondents felt the same (not worse; not better) about their co-workers after seeing their social media goodies [Read: Delish/Tasty videos, parenting blog shares, and cross-fit updates].
  3. Most employees who use social media for work-related purposes, start with Tinder Facebook. Sorry, LinkedIn. Only 14% ever use LinkedIn for work-related purposes. That seems low to me.
  4. Most employees who use social media for work-related purposes find it distracts from their work. Fifty-six percent of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes agree that social media distracts from the work they need to do, with 30% strongly agreeing.

Over at New York Magazine, Madison Malone Kircher concludes (here) that the Pew survey confirms that social media policies don’t work.


Yes, the survey does indicate that 77% of workers report using social media regardless of whether their employer has a policy. But, that doesn’t mean that the policy doesn’t work. Indeed, It is possible to use social media in a way that (gasp!) complies with a social media policy. (Please go fetch my pearls so that I may clutch them tightly). I’m still backing social media policies.

However, I do agree with Ms. Kircher’s conclusion:

Bosses in offices restricting social use probably have less to worry about than they think in terms of productivity. It’s still a minority of people in the more-chill offices using social media during the workday. Even though they technically can, those offices don’t appear to be staffed by social zombies staring at their Facebook newsfeed all day. (Maybe because they understand, you know, they have to do work at their jobs?Anyway, what we’re saying is, employers, let your employees eat cake and Instagram it, too. Your productivity probably won’t suffer. And also, you’ll have cake.

In other words, trust that the employees in whom you’ve placed your trust (and hard-earned dollars), will act like professionals — even if they use social media at work.