networkingDo you ever sneakily go on Facebook at work hoping your boss doesn’t see? Do you ever blatantly go on Facebook at work and not care if your boss sees? If you’re the former it’s time to stop worrying as Mashable Social Media say using social media can make you better at your job. If you’re the latter, I wouldn’t worry, you never cared anyway.

They say, and we agree, that by utilising and exploring social media tools employees can consume, learn and act on information much quicker. If knowledge is everything, then surely the more the better? We are obviously not talking about looking up your boyfriend from 5 years ago to see if his new girlfriend is pretty; we’re talking about separating your work and personal accounts, condensing the information and building relationships with contacts in the time it takes to tweet.

By streamlining your Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feed and Google alerts to separate work from play you can identify the information and limit the temptation to poke people all morning. By leaving the social at home and taking the networking to the office, staff can expand their knowledge and build relationships with clients and customers alike in a coffee break. Long gone are the extended boozy lunches and hours spent smoozhing at parties when all you used to come home with was a pocket full of crumpled business cards and an affair. Now contacts can be made from your desk first thing in the morning, when talking face to face with anyone is out of the question.

Yes, your boss may argue that staff could just sit there all day staring at an old school friend’s holiday photos if given unlimited access to these sites; but to be honest those people probably wouldn’t do any work anyway, so I’d just move their desk next to the boss’s and see how that works.

By allowing staff the tools and techniques to gain the most up-to-date information in their chosen field, it means your company will have the most up-to-date information in its chosen field.  “Social media has definitely confused the boundaries of work and home life, but a refusal to embrace this will no doubt leave you part of the diminishing minority” (Roger Allen – 2010, The Zeta Office).

So next time you are floating around cyberspace, but systematically switching windows between that and a timesheet, don’t worry, Roger says you’re part of the forward thinking majority, so embrace it!

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