Your employees can waste a lot of time on twitter – right? Well of course they can.
One of the architects whose practice I managed employed a school leaver for six months as a receptionist. She dressed well, spoke well and was well mannered, but she spent every moment she could, talking to her friends via the company email account.
This was in the 90s, and today this same person might be spending all the hours she could chatting on facebook, bebo or even twitter. The reason why she did this was because a) she wanted to and b) no-one stopped her.
If you employ staff of this type in this way then you’ll have a huge problem with social media use during the working day. You’ll have it whether you have a firewall or not. You’ll have it whether you have a social media strategy with associated staff policies or not. You’ll have it now. What you have to do is tell your staff what appropriate behaviour is (so they can exhibit it) and then monitor it (so you know they are).
Saying that twitter is a time waster is a stating the bloody obvious. The question is, can twitter (and other social media tools, for that matter) be used in a managed way to save time?
One of the reasons I think Twitter has had such a bad press with time wasting is because its usefulness is largely unreported. It’s much easier for the traditional broadcast media to stand outside and criticise twitter. It’s a good story. Everyone laughs and says, ‘oh yes, there they go again, tweeting inanely away’. In fact twitter has the potential to be a huge time saver.
I started using online networking tools about five years ago because I didn’t have enough time to run a busy practice and look after my family. Networking online, I could replace the early mornings and late nights with activity on my mobile phone and laptop whilst commuting on the train. My network of thousands of useful contacts on twitter, linkedin and my blogs has been built up in the ‘dead’ time I used to kill reading the paper. I’m writing this blog on a netbook on the train right now, and last week met up with two new clients we met on twitter.
As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, twitter does itself no favours in that from the outside people look like they are only discussing trivialities. Twitter users also do themselves no favours by constantly evangelising about it. It’s a bit like overzealous architects ranting on about design quality when their clients (while they might appreciate design quality in the long run) are right now more concerned about return on investment.
If we really want people to understand the value of any social media tool then we have to demonstrate that value in a way the target audience will accept. Don’t you agree?
Image: Tunnels of time by fdecomite