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Study: People That Think Social Media Helps Their Work Are Probably Wrong 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-off-the-yoke-of-your-sepia-overlords dept.
RichDiesal writes: "In an upcoming special issue of Social Science Computer Review, researchers set out to understand how people actually use social media while at work and how it affects their job performance. By polling workers across 17 industries, they identified 8 broad ways that people use social media that they believe help their work, and 9 broad ways that people use social media that they believe harm their work. Although the harmful social media behaviors were related to decreased job performance, the beneficial social media behaviors were unrelated to job performance. In short, wasting time on social media hurts you, but trying to use social media to improve your work probably doesn't actually help."
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Study: People That Think Social Media Helps Their Work Are Probably Wrong

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  • Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.

      These lolcat pictures sure do help me focus on work!

      And all these extreme political view posts, too!

      ...i'm pretty sure the president isn't an illegal alien...

      • Don't worry Ninja cat will distract them.

        These lolcat pictures sure do help me focus on work!

        And all these extreme political view posts, too!

        ...i'm pretty sure the president isn't an illegal alien...

        they have uncovered evidence that he's actually a space alien from the planet plexnar 12.

  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @06:31PM (#46709049)

    My first thought here was "well.. duh!"
    Maybe I'm biased not doing a lot of this stuff, but I just can't see any sort of job where social media helps except for jobs that are involved with social media (marketing, customer interactions, etc).

    Next up, will they have the study showing that Slashdot usage is detrimental to work performance?
    (at least I was sure usenet was a net positive because it was often the only place to get to get real answers to tough questions, which really has no replacement today)

    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RichDiesal (655968) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:05PM (#46709225)
      The people participating in the study thought these behaviors would help their job performance.... communicating with customers, reaching out to new customers, participating in an online work community, communicating with coworkers, gathering information from colleagues, asking friends/coworkers/family for help solving a work problem, and using social media as a technical solution (e.g. transferring a file from one computer to another). On the surface, it looks like these things would help in many jobs. But from the data, they were unassociated with better work performance.
    • My first thought here was "well.. duh!" Maybe I'm biased not doing a lot of this stuff, but I just can't see any sort of job where social media helps except for jobs that are involved with social media (marketing, customer interactions, etc).

      Next up, will they have the study showing that Slashdot usage is detrimental to work performance? (at least I was sure usenet was a net positive because it was often the only place to get to get real answers to tough questions, which really has no replacement today)

      Message boards have mostly replaced usenet these days. Unfortunately, they're a bit more fragmented. You have to find a message board pertaining to the topic you're interested.

      • Indeed. PLCs.NET has been great for my work in PLCs.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        The fragmentation is the problem though. One month it's a wierd bug in gcc, next month it's about how to do streaming, next month it's a game, etc.

        The real problem I have with forums/boards is the completely awful interface. They don't always keep track really of what I've read or not read, I don't get notified if there's a response to my question, and so forth; and when they do that stuff they often do it in a clumsy way and every site does it differently. Then I have to remember a zillion passwords too

        • by rioki (1328185)

          And THAT is why basically the only goto resource is the family of Stackexchange sites.

        • The fragmentation is the problem though. One month it's a wierd bug in gcc, next month it's about how to do streaming, next month it's a game, etc.

          The real problem I have with forums/boards is the completely awful interface. They don't always keep track really of what I've read or not read, I don't get notified if there's a response to my question, and so forth; and when they do that stuff they often do it in a clumsy way and every site does it differently. Then I have to remember a zillion passwords too.

          I haven't had problems with the cookies getting lost on most of the forums I use. I also tend to use the same password, because really it's not like a forum account is all that important. If it does get compromised to the point I can't or won't use the account anymore, I'd just get a new account. Most forums that I frequent use vBulletin or one of the free clones (phpBB for example), so I'm pretty used to the interface. I guess all that stuff is a matter of preference.

    • by symes (835608)

      I agree that the usual suspects, Facebook, Twitter and so on do very little. However, I have recently set up an account on Researchgate - a platform specifically for scientists to share their work, and have been modestly surprised. I have been able to connect with researchers, particularly more junior ones who I would not usually come across, and their work. In so doing I've found some very good studies in my area that I didn't know about.

      • Glad to hear you find Researchgate useful for your work.

        Around here, though, someone set up a Researchgate account and added a couple of publications to their profile. Researchgate then took the "initiative" to send all coauthors invitations to join. Instead of a somewhat spammy message to the effect of "so-and-so has joined Researchgate; we think you might want to check us out", the message was a much more sleazy "so-and-so has invited you to join him/her on Researchgate". Just want the /. crowd to be awar

  • by the_skywise (189793) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @06:31PM (#46709057)

    I RTFA but I don't see what they're counting as social media? Are we including things like IM and EMail or collaborative development products like web based agile?
    Or did they just count Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

    • It's any social media use at all while at work. One of the dimensions of "good" behaviors was participating in an online work community. Presumably, most people would not think that using Facebook would help their job performance, so they would not report that as "good".

      Some "good" example survey items linked in the article:
      I request help from people on social media when I am having trouble solving a problem at work.
      I communicate with existing customers or clients via social media.
      When someone posts
  • Ladies and Gentlemen we have a new front runner for this year's Ig Nobel prize awards --El
  • by zlives (2009072) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:04PM (#46709215)

    Thats because they are doing it wrong, what they need is the Oculus Rift VR FB experience.

  • by RudyHartmann (1032120) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:22PM (#46709337)

    Social media doesn't do diddly squat for 98% of the world at work.

    • Social media doesn't do diddly squat for 98% of the world at work.

      Guess what, it doesn't do much good for 98% of the world not at work.

  • If you use it right. Pickup a ton of industry info for what I am doing, connect with people who are in the same space. Easy connect with people interested in things I am doing.

    Facebook is a waste of time simply because Facebook neuters your ability to reach people if you don't pay - but so far Twitter is pretty decent.
  • It will depend on your reason or intention of using social media. If you use social media as part of your work such as posting about your company's update then it can help. On the hand, if your reason of using social media is to chat to your friends while working then it is not helpful.
  • In agreement here with comments above re: how it really depends on industry and intent. Previously having studied med sci before stumbling upon a linux kernel and plunging balls deep into the shell so to speak, I know enough about experimental design and stat manipulation to know that conclusions like these in Psychology can be dubious enough let alone Sociology studies like this one... making a questionnaire with a lie scale (if they even used one), and then throwing in some self reported data of time man
  • In my limited experience the people who say it helps their work seem to be looking for an excuse to play games on Facebook most of the working day.

    As for HR types scouring Facebook for some reason not to hire people or some reason to lay people off - kill it with fire!!!
  • LInkedIn in particular is highly useful if you are in a sales role. Essentially it is a form of self updating client book. It's accuracy is only so-so and it is definitely not exhaustive but without it the job would be much much more difficult.

  • IMHO There are three ways in which social media can help you in your job:

    1) finding a job/boosting your career by contacts: unrelated to job performance.

    2) Finding a solution to an already known problem (e.g. stackexchange) and retruning the favour there *iff you really have to say something* (otherwise it will annoy others and damage your reputation). Use it wisely to learn (and dont copy&paste too much).

    3) Reflecting on your own mindset by (semi)-anonymously posting on the internet, and listening to t

  • If you are trying to do any "networking", which everyone seems to agree is oh-so-necessary these days, from the comfort of your office chair and you yourself have nothing valuable to offer so you have to fall back to easily accessible means like open groups or open profiles on social media then the only people you will meet are others like you who have nothing to offer but who are also trying to claw their way up some social ladder.

    Pretty much any form of networking that will actually give you valuable acce

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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