Allowing Social Network Access During Work Hours: A Gen Y Perspective

It seems as though one of the topics up for debate within the HR community, as technology seems to thoroughly pervade our daily activities, is the usage of social networks within the workplace. On the one hand, proponents argue that they increase productivity, but on the other hand, opponents say that social networks within the workplace can become addictive and ultimately diminish workplace efficiency.

Both sides have their merits, but, as a member of the Gen Y workforce, I would like to speak out for the others within my generation whose lives are constantly revolving around our social networks and personal branding initiatives. There have been many articles written on the topic throughout the various blogs and networking sites regarding this issue, but, I have yet to hear the voice of someone from within the generation that is being spoken of.

For me, I feel as though social networking during work hours not only increases my productivity, but helps me to further build and maintain my professional relationships. My generation does not merely sit by the water cooler for their daily dose of gossip, instead, we IM, blog, text, chat on facebook, tweet, and use other online social outlets to communicate. Instead of peaking up over the cube and asking our neighbor how they are doing, we IM instead. I am not necessarily advocating my generation’s move towards losing personal touches, but the reality is, the more web 2.0 and social networking infiltrates our lives, the more we will utilize it, to the fullest extent. In taking a 5 minute break from our work, we can relax a bit, IM our coworkers and catch up with them on facebook. Take a mental cigarette break if you well.

In addition to keeping in touch with our various friends and coworkers via social networking, we are also building out our own professional personal branding. We build linkedin pages so that we can network and meet with others that have the same interests and career aspirations. We utilize twitter to meet likeminded professionals and blog so that we can have our voices heard. By utilizing social medias in my own life, I have begun to garner a following of individuals and a “book of business”. I have connected with amazing people across the country and the world with which I can share my professional pitfalls, challenges, and successes. I attribute many of my professional contacts to my social networking connections, as do many of my fellow Gen Y peers.

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Comment by Dan Nuroo on May 15, 2009 at 6:09am
Yeah, but how has it increased your productivity?
Comment by Dayna Racow on May 15, 2009 at 12:30pm
My definition of productivity in the workplace is twofold. Not only is it my direct work output on a daily basis, but it is also learning more about my industry and making valuable business partnerships and connections. I find leveraging social networks much more powerful than merely cold calling. I am learning more through my peers which lends itself to the particular business I am in. Through utilizing sites such as Linkedin, Recruitingblogs, Twitter, etc I have met and spoken to industry leaders, expanded my book of business (which is key in sales), and further advanced my product (I work at a startup). Thus, all of these instances directly link to productivity. I am becoming more valuable to my company and more productive through the connections that I have made through social networking. In addition, and this is particular to how I personally work, taking mental 5 minute breaks here and there online (in lieu of say a coffee break), directly affects my ability to output quality work. I suspect and have heard this is somewhat universal amongst my Gen Y peers. Hope that answered your question :).

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