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.