Digital Influence Weekly – The Difference Between Wasting Time and Spending Time on Social Media at Work

Could you imagine spending one billion dollars on anything? Facebook can, and did! The big news this week was of Facebook acquiring Instagram for that amount. If you have no clue why it would be worth so much, you can find out more here on Mashable.

And now, the Digital Influence Weekly…

Checking Facebook at the office is not a federal crime. That’s good news for everyone who is reading this only after seeing it posted on Facebook.

When I saw posts about this, I wanted to read the Wall Street Journal’s take on the issue. In a video story, the legal reporter (the youngest of the three correspondents) was discussing how employers could not make a federal case against employees who log on at work or on work-issued electronics to check social networks. Employers could also not threaten employees with a federal case if they did not cease visiting non-work related sites. They could still fire these employees, they could not be tried in a federal court for it.

The seemingly oldest correspondent kept referring to spending time online as “wasting time.” He talks about how he can’t believe so many fellow staff members in the newsroom spend time on social media. The other reporters are quick to let him know that it’s because “they are reporters.” That statement says it all, as you’ll read in our upcoming newsletter article on SXSW Interactive takeaways, reporters want to use social media. Software is being developed to help journalists monitor and contribute to the news streams created by the public. Reporters have greater access to video and pictures from the highest offices to the lowest streets and can share them with readers instantly. When journalists don’t spend productive time on social media, they miss out on firsthand accounts to include in reports (once verified). 

For thought leaders in any industry who want to market their services and gain the latest insight as quickly as possible, social media is a valuable tool. They would rather lead the charge than be a follower. 

It’s true that not every industry or business need to be involved in social media. Not every single employee needs to utilize it for their career. But that has to be evaluated before that decision can be made. 

Here are some easy ways to evaluate if you should be using social media:

• Search yourself. Is anyone talking about you, your managing directors, your company or your industry?
• What are your competitors doing? Are they using social media to accomplish any number of reputation, branding, civic or recruitment goals?
• Are you looking for ways to continue your employees’ professional education without spending lots of time and money on real-world networking events?
• Do the trade organizations you belong to or industry reporters have a social media presence?

If the answer is YES to these questions, then what you really need to ask is, “why have I been ignoring this resource used by my customers, peers, relevant organizations, industry reporters and thought leaders?”