According to a report from Business Wire, researchers have supposedly discovered that Generation Y workers (defined as ages 18-34) don’t think they should be free to tweet on the job.
The study finds that only 31% of “youth” workers (26% of women and 36% of men) believe they should be allowed to access and use social media while at work, while 38% believe that their work should not be able to view their social media activity. The 4500 respondents hail from the UK, Canada and …
… the US, though whether the gender lines were even is unknown.
From this information, the researchers have drawn the following conclusion:
“Most people think that the most digital generation ever will be clamouring to make work all about social media, but in reality Generation Y still wants to separate their personal space from their workplace”, says Decode CEO Robert Barnard.
Is that what the report is suggesting, though?
Here’s the thing: if someone said to me, “Hey, Sarah, do you think you should be able to text all day long at work?” or “Do you think that Facebooking will lead to good things for your productivity and your company as a whole?” of course I’m going to say no. But will I actually want to give up those social media outlets while on the job if my work currently allows it? Again, probably not.
These people aren’t necessarily saying that they want to keep Twitter and work separate, but are rather being honest about the fact that surfing on the job probably isn’t all that beneficial to their employers. And who could really disagree? Apart from, you know, the 31% of respondents who were probably just being honest about their own on-the-job activities.
And really, unless you’re on Twitter and Facebook promoting the company all day, how would accessing social media help your job or your employers? We’ve discussed the issues with Facebook before – nude photo scandals, domestic violence scandals and we’ve discussed how much teachers should or shouldn’t be sharing online when a whole audience of their students could be listening. Plus, anyone who’s texted or Twittered or Facebooked on the job will probably admit that they’ve never been less productive. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of reports which suggest that when you take a break from your work to engage in an online game or an e-mail or a quick chat with a friend, it takes a long time to get back into the rhythm of whatever it was you were doing before. And why is this even being made a gender issue based on a small difference in percentages? It doesn’t seem as though the researchers have found any way to explain the difference in gender responses, but for some reason the article writer has turned this into some kind of female issue.
But what’s your take? Could social media be used — and not abused — by workers? Have you been caught texting on the job?