As a small business owner, or as a manager in a major corporation, you may be feeling the pain of social media addiction in your staff. We are often aware of the impact that addictions like alcoholism and drug addiction impact our working environment. But how can you notice the person that is addicted to their social network? Chances are their work is also impacted as badly as the alcoholic. It has be stated that Twitter is addictive as smoking.
Using Twitter or Facebook through you smart-phone may give the employee the look of being the conscientious worker looking up information during the course of a meeting, yet the reality is different they cannot stand to be away from Twitter, not even for one second.
According to Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Business School “Desires for (social) media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist. With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs – long-term as well as monetary – and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still ‘steal’ a lot of people’s time.”
This can become a major problem for an employer as the ultimate result is that work does not get done when it should be. There is definitely a cost from the employer’s perspective; it comes in terms of lost productivity and an inability to deliver on time.
There are two different perspectives to consider here:
- ♦ The worker that uses Social Media at home and is always tired at work
♦ The worker who is addicted to to Social Media on their smartphone and is distracted
They are both symptoms of the same problem – too much focus on Twitter or Facebook and not enough focus on completing their work assignments. We have all seen it; the person you are having a conversation with checks his Twitter updates while you’re speaking, they think you won’t notice, trouble is you do. If they cannot live without tweeting everything around them then your employees may be in serious trouble. For the manager this can become a big problem.
The positive side is that social networks have made people more interactive, built communities and groups with shared interests and allows people to stay more “connected” than ever before. Yet at the same time this also at the heart of the problem, which is in the balance between being connected or being too connected – the latter can be just one step away from addiction. It has been postulated that addicts face higher incidence of depression and lower physical and general self-esteem levels and this is one of the issues any business owner or manager needs to be aware of.
South Korea, for example, considers Internet addiction (of which Social Media addiction must be considered a part) as one of its most serious public health issues. Are they right to? That is an interesting question. Certainly spending 20 plus hours per week gaming or gambling could be seen as an addiction as could spending that time on social media.
From an employers perspective it is as important to recognise the problem as it is to find a solution. One start may be that during meetings no mobile or cellular phones should be allowed and neither should computers. The problem here is that many effective workers do capture meeting notes and actions through the computer. I would love to hear your comments about other solutions.
The key issues in regards to managing the use of Social Media in the workplace can be:
- ♦ Can Social Media Activity be Used as Grounds for Dismissal?
♦ Privacy – Every connection can see the things you post as can the public at large.
♦ Hacking accounts and identifying passwords, many passwords are the same at work.
♦ Social networking addiction, discussed here
♦ Developing a Social Media Policy
These will be covered further in other articles.
Tags: Addiction, Social Media