Does the line between personal and professional use of social media exist today?
Can business and pleasure mix on social media platforms? Or is it best to keep them separate?
Social media and the digital world are ubiquitous, no matter where someone works. Many employees are on their Facebook or Instagram to check their feeds, normally when they get bored as many of us do. And many companies have come to allow and accept this but is it appropriate at a workplace? People spend so much time on social media platforms, so if that remains true in the workplace, how efficient are employees?
There are no strict rules on this topic; a ban on personal use of social media would be blasphemous considering the time and age of our society today. But are people aware of the appropriate use of social media at work? Can they balance workload and personal time?
According to Venture Beat, 17% of anonymous participants said that they are “required to use their personal social media accounts to post about work and their company” in a survey. The line between personal and private online lives has blurred to invisibility. One of the respondents said that he has to be careful about the things he says to his friends, considering the fact that he conducts business activities over the same accounts. “My Facebook has become a more interactive version of my LinkedIn profile, with only the blandest conversations with my friends.”
Another participant said, “I feel the personal and work identities have largely blurred in the past several years. That being said, I am moderately concerned about privacy, security and surveillance.”
It’s important to think about that fine line between professional and personal use of social media at work. According to a CNN article, several experts say that people should limit Facebook and Twitter activity to their personal computer. Also, the article notes that only 10% of companies actually have specific policies to deal with social networking sites.
According to Forbes, managers and employees are “struggling to develop new social norms to guide them through the ongoing evolution of communications technology.” Nancy Rothbard, Wharton management professor, says that communications technology is enabling flexibility and making people more effective in some ways. “But it can also lead to a lot of burnout. In the long term, it may lead conflict about how you feel towards your other life roles and your ability to be fully present in any one domain,” said Rothbard.
While some companies require employees to use their social media accounts as a way to market the firm, there are companies that limit or ban Facebook for being a distraction. They also “monitor employees’ personal pages for images or comments that might reflect poorly on the business,” according to Forbes.
So the question is this: is the use of social media more helpful or harmful to the workplace or the brand?