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Study: People That Think Social Media Helps Their Work Are Probably Wrong

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the throw-off-the-yoke-of-your-sepia-overlords dept.

Social Networks 40

RichDiesal writes: "In an upcoming special issue of Social Science Computer Review, researchers set out to understand how people actually use social media while at work and how it affects their job performance. By polling workers across 17 industries, they identified 8 broad ways that people use social media that they believe help their work, and 9 broad ways that people use social media that they believe harm their work. Although the harmful social media behaviors were related to decreased job performance, the beneficial social media behaviors were unrelated to job performance. In short, wasting time on social media hurts you, but trying to use social media to improve your work probably doesn't actually help."

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LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708973)

Question: Would you suck Mandingo's BBC for a FagBook Pro?

Productivity (1)

c008644 (3529249) | about 7 months ago | (#46709047)

Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.

Re:Productivity (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#46709159)

Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.

These lolcat pictures sure do help me focus on work!

And all these extreme political view posts, too!

...i'm pretty sure the president isn't an illegal alien...

Re:Productivity (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46709747)

Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.

These lolcat pictures sure do help me focus on work!

And all these extreme political view posts, too!

...i'm pretty sure the president isn't an illegal alien...

they have uncovered evidence that he's actually a space alien from the planet plexnar 12.

Hmm.. (4, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 7 months ago | (#46709049)

My first thought here was "well.. duh!"
Maybe I'm biased not doing a lot of this stuff, but I just can't see any sort of job where social media helps except for jobs that are involved with social media (marketing, customer interactions, etc).

Next up, will they have the study showing that Slashdot usage is detrimental to work performance?
(at least I was sure usenet was a net positive because it was often the only place to get to get real answers to tough questions, which really has no replacement today)

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709147)

no kidding...

I personally block the sites on my own computer so I am not tempted to look.

at least I was sure usenet was a net positive
ah so cute. comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action comp.sys.ibm.pc.games comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.misc

yeah tons of info... But you are right about the loss...

Re:Hmm.. (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 7 months ago | (#46711841)

There are other usenet groups except alt.binaries.*?

Re:Hmm.. (4, Insightful)

RichDiesal (655968) | about 7 months ago | (#46709225)

The people participating in the study thought these behaviors would help their job performance.... communicating with customers, reaching out to new customers, participating in an online work community, communicating with coworkers, gathering information from colleagues, asking friends/coworkers/family for help solving a work problem, and using social media as a technical solution (e.g. transferring a file from one computer to another). On the surface, it looks like these things would help in many jobs. But from the data, they were unassociated with better work performance.

Re:Hmm.. (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46709759)

My first thought here was "well.. duh!" Maybe I'm biased not doing a lot of this stuff, but I just can't see any sort of job where social media helps except for jobs that are involved with social media (marketing, customer interactions, etc).

Next up, will they have the study showing that Slashdot usage is detrimental to work performance? (at least I was sure usenet was a net positive because it was often the only place to get to get real answers to tough questions, which really has no replacement today)

Message boards have mostly replaced usenet these days. Unfortunately, they're a bit more fragmented. You have to find a message board pertaining to the topic you're interested.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 7 months ago | (#46710045)

Indeed. PLCs.NET has been great for my work in PLCs.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 7 months ago | (#46710253)

The fragmentation is the problem though. One month it's a wierd bug in gcc, next month it's about how to do streaming, next month it's a game, etc.

The real problem I have with forums/boards is the completely awful interface. They don't always keep track really of what I've read or not read, I don't get notified if there's a response to my question, and so forth; and when they do that stuff they often do it in a clumsy way and every site does it differently. Then I have to remember a zillion passwords too.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 7 months ago | (#46711849)

And THAT is why basically the only goto resource is the family of Stackexchange sites.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46724395)

The fragmentation is the problem though. One month it's a wierd bug in gcc, next month it's about how to do streaming, next month it's a game, etc.

The real problem I have with forums/boards is the completely awful interface. They don't always keep track really of what I've read or not read, I don't get notified if there's a response to my question, and so forth; and when they do that stuff they often do it in a clumsy way and every site does it differently. Then I have to remember a zillion passwords too.

I haven't had problems with the cookies getting lost on most of the forums I use. I also tend to use the same password, because really it's not like a forum account is all that important. If it does get compromised to the point I can't or won't use the account anymore, I'd just get a new account. Most forums that I frequent use vBulletin or one of the free clones (phpBB for example), so I'm pretty used to the interface. I guess all that stuff is a matter of preference.

Re:Hmm.. (2)

symes (835608) | about 7 months ago | (#46711455)

I agree that the usual suspects, Facebook, Twitter and so on do very little. However, I have recently set up an account on Researchgate - a platform specifically for scientists to share their work, and have been modestly surprised. I have been able to connect with researchers, particularly more junior ones who I would not usually come across, and their work. In so doing I've found some very good studies in my area that I didn't know about.

Re:Hmm.. (2)

nmr_andrew (1997772) | about 7 months ago | (#46716241)

Glad to hear you find Researchgate useful for your work.

Around here, though, someone set up a Researchgate account and added a couple of publications to their profile. Researchgate then took the "initiative" to send all coauthors invitations to join. Instead of a somewhat spammy message to the effect of "so-and-so has joined Researchgate; we think you might want to check us out", the message was a much more sleazy "so-and-so has invited you to join him/her on Researchgate". Just want the /. crowd to be aware of the sort of tactics Researchgate is using to try to build their member list.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46714699)

Well u can always google the problem

Really... Facebooking doesn't help productivity!? (5, Interesting)

the_skywise (189793) | about 7 months ago | (#46709057)

I RTFA but I don't see what they're counting as social media? Are we including things like IM and EMail or collaborative development products like web based agile?
Or did they just count Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

Re:Really... Facebooking doesn't help productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709101)

No, Faceplanting/Facistbooking isn't doing work- unless that IS your work.

Re:Really... Facebooking doesn't help productivity (2)

RichDiesal (655968) | about 7 months ago | (#46709271)

It's any social media use at all while at work. One of the dimensions of "good" behaviors was participating in an online work community. Presumably, most people would not think that using Facebook would help their job performance, so they would not report that as "good".

Some "good" example survey items linked in the article:
I request help from people on social media when I am having trouble solving a problem at work.
I communicate with existing customers or clients via social media.
When someone posts something negative about our organization or its employees on social media, I try to do something about it.

I smell an Ig nobel! (2)

elsuperjefe (1487639) | about 7 months ago | (#46709117)

Ladies and Gentlemen we have a new front runner for this year's Ig Nobel prize awards --El

Stop reading Slashdot (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 7 months ago | (#46710055)

. . . and get back to work.

doing it wrong (4, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about 7 months ago | (#46709215)

Thats because they are doing it wrong, what they need is the Oculus Rift VR FB experience.

It's Called Cyber Loafing (2)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | about 7 months ago | (#46709337)

Social media doesn't do diddly squat for 98% of the world at work.

Re:It's Called Cyber Loafing (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46709771)

Social media doesn't do diddly squat for 98% of the world at work.

Guess what, it doesn't do much good for 98% of the world not at work.

Re:It's Called Cyber Loafing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710287)

98% of the world doesn't work. Social media helps increase this to 100%, at least it creates more conformity... ah I mean symmetry.

Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709371)

What if your job is to 'engage the userbase' on social media?

Re:Job (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 7 months ago | (#46709429)

I take it you didn't RTFA, then, which is a summary of the real paper, in which they show that doesn't really work. (And abuse factor analysis.)

Twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709431)

Twitter is pretty invaluable when it comes to real-time "is my ISP/*aaS down or is it just me?" situations. I don't actively sit there and tweet, but it has plenty of uses that enhance my reaction time to issues.

Re:Twitter (2)

laffer1 (701823) | about 7 months ago | (#46709535)

I second this. As a software developer, I deal with weird issues with vendor products I have to support and extend. I've had great luck communicating with their product support folks via twitter. It literally saves hours waiting for email responses.

We also use Google Plus to communicate at work through a private community. It's actually scheduled to replace a good part of our current intranet site. It's been a lot quicker for us to just use that rather than maintain the custom solution we were using. We also can search it effectively and the teams have been good about tracking it as we use a full google stack at work (Gmail, drive, etc) so they get the notifications regularly.

Like any tools, it depends on how you use them.

Re:Twitter (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46709627)

I've had great luck communicating with their product support folks via twitter.

Does your boss know you publish company problems on public websites?

Re:Twitter (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 7 months ago | (#46709839)

Yes, he does. How is it different than using a site like stack overflow?

Re:Twitter (2)

Imagix (695350) | about 7 months ago | (#46709791)

communicating with their product support folks via twitter. It literally saves hours waiting for email responses

Then the vendor is literally incompetent. There is _no_ reason why email should take hours to get a response.

Twitter is great (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 7 months ago | (#46709491)

If you use it right. Pickup a ton of industry info for what I am doing, connect with people who are in the same space. Easy connect with people interested in things I am doing.

Facebook is a waste of time simply because Facebook neuters your ability to reach people if you don't pay - but so far Twitter is pretty decent.

Intention of Using (1)

zisel (3561213) | about 7 months ago | (#46710631)

It will depend on your reason or intention of using social media. If you use social media as part of your work such as posting about your company's update then it can help. On the hand, if your reason of using social media is to chat to your friends while working then it is not helpful.

pfft (1)

indigo264nm (2898793) | about 7 months ago | (#46710891)

In agreement here with comments above re: how it really depends on industry and intent. Previously having studied med sci before stumbling upon a linux kernel and plunging balls deep into the shell so to speak, I know enough about experimental design and stat manipulation to know that conclusions like these in Psychology can be dubious enough let alone Sociology studies like this one... making a questionnaire with a lie scale (if they even used one), and then throwing in some self reported data of time management on social media doesn't prove shit. Perfect example on how social media increased my work productivity: On the news channel in the background I've been hearing about this big deal called the Heartbleed bug over and over again... it's big news now apparently and they're telling me that it's a very big deal, throwing big percentages around and all.. Because of my using social media I found out about this cve, checked systems and patched affected centos 6 servers 48hrs ago. Now I actually have nothing better to do with my time than type this shite to strangers.

In my limited experience (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46710955)

In my limited experience the people who say it helps their work seem to be looking for an excuse to play games on Facebook most of the working day.

As for HR types scouring Facebook for some reason not to hire people or some reason to lay people off - kill it with fire!!!

Depends on your career (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 7 months ago | (#46711073)

LInkedIn in particular is highly useful if you are in a sales role. Essentially it is a form of self updating client book. It's accuracy is only so-so and it is definitely not exhaustive but without it the job would be much much more difficult.

I never got that anyway (1)

drolli (522659) | about 7 months ago | (#46711639)

IMHO There are three ways in which social media can help you in your job:

1) finding a job/boosting your career by contacts: unrelated to job performance.

2) Finding a solution to an already known problem (e.g. stackexchange) and retruning the favour there *iff you really have to say something* (otherwise it will annoy others and damage your reputation). Use it wisely to learn (and dont copy&paste too much).

3) Reflecting on your own mindset by (semi)-anonymously posting on the internet, and listening to the thoughts of others, without the pressure to loose your face if you are not right, or asking questions which you would not ask in public.

But having 1million friends and likes of facebook is not getting your problem solved unless your are an SEO sheep.

The problem with easy access networking... (1)

HnT (306652) | about 7 months ago | (#46711703)

If you are trying to do any "networking", which everyone seems to agree is oh-so-necessary these days, from the comfort of your office chair and you yourself have nothing valuable to offer so you have to fall back to easily accessible means like open groups or open profiles on social media then the only people you will meet are others like you who have nothing to offer but who are also trying to claw their way up some social ladder.

Pretty much any form of networking that will actually give you valuable access to influential people is going to be a lot harder to get and will somehow be limited. These people can choose and they don't talk to or share their influence with "nobodies" who got nothing equally valuable to offer but try to get their foot in the proverbial door by stalking on facebook or xing.

This is completely false in my business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46715037)

I work as a consultant delivering large projects for our clients, which is essentially a knowledge economy. We do thousands of projects a year.. someones done that same project with a client in the same industry before? How do we know? How do we get in touch with that person and speak to them on the phone? Do we spam the entire company mailing list?
Nope, we just on our organisation's Enterprise Social Network. Jive, Yammer, Chatter, etc... they are all new ways of doing business and sharing information.

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