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Social Networking vs. Social NOTworking: Where Do You Stand?

 “Social Notworking: The practice of spending time unproductively on social-networking websites, especially when one should be working.” – UrbanDictionary.com

In the ongoing debate over whether social networking is a productivity booster or a productivity destroyer, what’s your stance?

If you’re part of Team Destroyer, here’s new fuel for your fire: A recent study from Nucleus Research found that Facebook negatively affects office productivity.  The results of Nucleus’ survey of 237 office workers indicate that roughly half (47 percent) of office workers regularly log on to Facebook during working hours – and the vast majority of those workers (87 percent) can’t define a clear business reason for doing so – all of which result in an average of 1.5 percent in lost production across the entire office.

On the surface, this finding seems to support the argument for companies to ban access to social networking sites, but consider this: Nucleus also found that those who go on Facebook at work only do so for an average of 15 minutes a day. In that case, I don’t see what the big deal is: Fifteen minutes is a cigarette or coffee break for some people. (A performance-boosting power nap for others, perhaps.) In other words, time that people can – and probably should – use to step away from their work to recharge every once in a while.

At the same time, this recent Workplace Media study reports that – in contrast to the Nucleus study – only 55 percent of office workers are on social networks at all, and of those, only 44 percent log on during the work day.  So who’s right?

(Not that it really matters if you believe another recent study that says that social networkers are actually more productive than their colleagues…nor if you’re swayed by the argument that banning sites like Facebook and Twitter can be counterproductive, according to analysts from Gartner.)

Personally, I believe that, Facebook or no Facebook, employees will always find some distraction they can use to unwind, procrastinate, etc…if they really want to. 

What do you think? In your experience, do you find social networking does more harm than good when it comes to productivity? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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