I’m SO tired of reading articles like this about how social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo are a waste of work time. It’s almost as stupid as the argument that translation memories make for bad translators! Applications are mere TOOLS people (and we all know what a bad workman does with his tools). And yes, as with all new tools, of course there may be a bedding-in period while users develop effective working habits*, but that does not mean they are a waste of time.
I also find the hypocrisy of employers more than a little irritating. Since when is cultivating human contacts a waste of time? Do you not hire us for our people skills? Do you not benefit from the industry contacts made during our pricey postgraduate degrees? When someone in my network comes through with business and/or other useful information, why does it matter the way in which I maintained that relationship? Or would you rather I spent hours flicking through a Rolodex filled with dog-eared business cards, or devising search queries for my snazzy little database of names, numbers and conversation pointers?! Clearly, what really annoys these people is that we’re doing things differently to The Way They Have Always Been Done.
Online networking sites create and nurture opportunities for human interactions, they don’t replace them. I mean, I’d be only too happy to arrange to meet all my friends face to face, only I don’t have the time – I’m already expected to work longer hours than anyone else in Europe…
With so many employers with attitudes like this, is it any wonder that many of us are turning our backs on traditional forms of employment?
* If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this post i.e. excessive time on social media, then I suggest you check out Chris Brogan’s post for an excellent approach on managing your social media tools. In complete confidence.