I knew it!! Okay, so today my boss sent me this post from The Standard which argues the case that businesses can use social media as a strategic recruiting tool. (Ah, yes. I agree.) But it goes even further, saying that sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, for instance, are useful in engaging employees as well, and that, in fact, bosses should allow their employees to use social media sites at work.
While I know I’ve argued the point of using these sites to help with recruiting tactics, I was actually a little surprised but also way psyched to hear the case for giving employees the freedom to peruse these sites during business hours. But according to the Demos research the article mentions, using these sites can actually boost productivity and communication among employees.
I get the whole communication thing. After all, using these sites to formulate and join common interest groups, advertise and invite people to parties, post interesting links for friends to read and comment on others’ photos, posted items or statuses has become the normal way for so many people to communicate now.
But I’ve also seen both co-workers and friends use these sites to garner awareness of and interest in business-related events, news and announcements. And I’ve certainly had people find me through these sites to ask me business-related questions, comments or advice, and vice versa.
The fact that it’s actually shown to increases production, too, however, actually did surprise me a little. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good (but incredibly short and thought-provoking) YouTube fix, but I’ve never really considered indulging in a few clips of, say, a classic “Golden Girls” episode, for example, incredibly productive.
But then I thought there’s certainly an argument to be made about taking time throughout the day to ease stress or recharge, and this is just another outlet. Then I started thinking about the many occasions I’ve actually used videos from YouTube or other interesting links friends have sent to me or posted on Facebook to serve as inspiration for work-related projects. Turns out, it’s not always about Estelle Getty.
The over-arching theme of the article is that companies need to embrace this behavior if they’re going to stay relevant – in both current and prospective employees’ minds.
That said, I’ll end with a story: when I was a kid, I was once traumatized by this Looney Tunes episode where somehow, Porky Pig gets trapped in the remote country of Wackyland (which, fyi, is not just a clever name). Well, after many unsuccessful attempts to fulfill his mission to catch the world’s last Dodo bird, he finally catches it only after he dresses up as a “local,” and the bird, at once familiar and at ease, walks right into his arms.
Anyway, when the Standard article talked about how companies should embrace their employees’ intuitions, this cartoon came to mind. See, Porky learned to embrace the new world around him, and that’s how he ultimately reached his goal. Genius! (Never mind that, in a “Twilight Zone”-y twist, Porky is so blindsided by the revelation that there are actually millions of Dodo’s left in the world, he ends up back alone and still stranded. Creepy, huh?)
Still, though, it’s a good lesson. The end.