Two truths and a social lie

I read an interesting article in Forbes last week that asked several questions about social media to top executives, with the intention of seeing whether their views on social networking in the enterprise match with reality.

Here is one of the statements tested on the executives:

Employees that use social applications are less productive than employees that do not.

At first sight most executives tend to agree with this, but the article deconstructs how most workers are engaging socially and concludes that actually the statement is false – workers who are socially engaged are actually much more productive than those who switch off any social contact once they enter the office.

Why is this? It runs counter to all the normal accepted thinking that people need to focus on the task at hand and not be posting photos onto Facebook during the middle of the working day.

The reality is that many organisations are themselves becoming more social. Information sharing is being encouraged. Social tools are encouraging people to connect and share problems.

Digital interaction at work does not mean allowing every employee to sit staring at Facebook when they should be working. Allowing your team to collaborate using social tools helps to improve efficiency and ability to deliver and every software firm from Microsoft to IBM to Google is now building social interactivity into their enterprise products.

So the next time someone asks if social networking is of any business inside the office, think for a moment. Collaboration is not the same as Farmville.

Farmville flowers

Photo by Rachel licensed under Creative Commons

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