Social media and employers

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Facebook has been getting some love from some employers
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Social media and employers can mix on the job for productivity

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook used to be viewed as nothing more than time wasters for users.  This is one of the many reasons why employers have had a real problem with their employees using social media sites but as the Internet's usage has grown and matured, more and more companies are seeing that the sites can be useful.  While they might serve as mostly a time waster, there are instances where that might even be okay. 

Healthy, Happy and Wise Employees

One of the main reasons employers have been relaxing their rules when it comes to banning the use of sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and the granddaddy of them all, Facebook is that employers are not working 9-5 hours anymore.  The expansion of the Internet has meant that employees are more reachable outside of the regular business hours and salaried employees are expected to put in 9, 10 or 11 hour days.  Because they are expected to put in longer and less than regular hours, employers know there needs to be a tradeoff.

A Gantner study from 2010 pretty much shows what we all knew, in that happier employees are more efficient employees. One particular way in which employers have found to keep their office employees happy is by letting them use social media sites when they are on the job, as long as it doesn't take up the entire work day.  The most interesting part is the number of companies that are coming around to allowing a blending of social media and employers. 

Gantner's report says that in 2010, more than half of all companies blocked access to the most popular social sites. The industry analyst believes that number will be below 30 percent by the end of 2014.  That shows that some employers are happy to reduce their Internet restrictions and it shows a good number are still behind the times.

Your Boss Could Be Snooping On You

While some companies still look at Facebook as though it was the very embodiment of everything that is wrong in the world, others have realized a very different use for it.  Some employers might actually encourage you to use a social networking site because they realize just how easy it is to spy on you. 

It has gotten to the point that elementary school teachers have started giving classes to their students about how to protect themselves on the Internet when it comes to posting pictures and info that could be embarrassing on social sites.  The problem is that a majority of adults in the workplace didn't get those same kind of warnings and therefore forget that there are numerous ways to see their postings. 

Some bosses will send their workers a friend or follow request merely so that they can monitor their actions when they are off duty.  Pictures that you think you are sharing with your best friends are now viewable by your immediate superiors.  When you are using a site like Twitter, you are even more exposed because the privacy rules are even a little more lax.

Social Media and Employers Vetting Applicants

While the big social sites can be used as great ways to check up on current employees, they can also be used to check up on potential additions.  Quite a few department managers are not shy about admitting that once they get an applicant they think could be a top candidate, they'll do a quick check to see what their Internet footprint looks like.  These same employers are not ashamed to admit that a negative opinion of that footprint could mean the difference between getting the job and getting passed up.  Some people can present well in an interview, only to fall well short when professionalism is expected after the hire.

Social networking can be a great way to blow off steam, and there are plenty of companies that are seeing a real boon for their cause when using them.  Those who want to keep their jobs, should be aware of what they are posting and be vigilant about what even their friends are putting out there for the world to see.

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