I recently read an interesting post on Brian Solis‘ blog about the argument over whether social networks increase or decrease productivity on the job. This caught my attention because my roommate, a dental student, recently told me that she was having a hard time focusing on her studies because of Facebook. This news did not surprise me! Facebook became popular when I was a freshmen in college– I was distracted by what my friends were posting to the site for four years. Luckily, Twitter did not come into my life until after I graduated. Nevertheless, now I am dealing with these social media sites at work. So the question remains– are they making us more productive or distracting us?
Many PR professionals use a tool such as TweetDeck to keep track of accounts. I find this tool to be extremely helpful, but at the same time tweets are constantly popping up while I am in the middle of a task. Sometimes this instant notification is beneficial– perhaps someone tweeted about a piece of client coverage that just came out. Other times it can be distracting when I see something interesting that has nothing to do with what I am working on. You can disable the “pop up” feature if you feel it’s interfering with your work.
Brian Solis did an informal poll asking his readers if they felt that social networks decrease productivity in the workplace. His results show that out of 785 responses, 49% of respondents do not believe social networks decrease productivity. Although, 37% admit that they feel that their online activity leads them away from their primary focus and 14% aren’t sure which way to lean yet.
As of right now, I am still torn on this debate. For the most part, I believe that social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook make me more productive at work. They lead me to industry articles about PR and technology that I may not have noticed otherwise. It is also interesting to keep up with what everyone else is doing throughout the day, but this can be distracting at times. What do you think about this issue? Do these sites make you more productive or cause you to lose focus on your work?