Is social media the new 'producitvity paradox'?
Productivity Paradox - A definition
In terms of Information Technology (IT), the productivity paradox is the concept that the investment in technology by businesses was actually causing the productivity of employees to be reduced instead of increased (Dreyfuss).
Social Media as a Productivity Paradox -
There is a strong argument that businesses allowing social media access in the work environment are allowing employees to use work time to socialize and be distracted from their work. On the opposite side of that agenda, there is an argument that employees should be allowed to connect with others via social media (including the use of internal social media) under guidance as a way to increase productivity. It can be tough to decide which side of this argument is more valid which is why each company must develop its own social media policy to deal with issues that may come up as a result - especially those that are specific to their type of business.
Jason Fried, who is the cofounder 37Signals and co-author of the book Rework believe that social media is not the culprit when it comes to work distraction:
Jason Fried mentions that social media access is the equivalent to today's version of the 'smoke break' and that these sites don't truly distract from the work the way that meetings and managers do. Fried mentions that meetings and managers interrupt work and cost the business money more than social media ever could (Fried 2010).
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ron Desi writes in his sarcastic article Top Ten Reasons To Ban Social Media Access At Work, that there are several reasons to change social media policies so that they ban employees from accessing social media content. For starters, Desi claims that employee productivity declines and that employees cannot be trusted to share content that would not put a company's reputation in jeopardy. Additionally, Desi mentions that social media takes away from the company's control on its employees and their activities, so that spending money and time developing policies is more of a time waste then just simply banning access all together (Desi).
Both sides of the argument make some excellent points about why social media is valuable and costly for businesses. When drafting a social media policy, each company must consider all of these points as well as the positive and negative aspects that come along with the use of social media in the workplace. Social media policies must be customized and enforced by each company to best support its needs.