Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Disadvantage of Social Networking for professionals and companies

The social network revolution has left no strata of our society untouched. Organisations face issues over lost productivity due to employees spending their time on social media. For firms that dole out payments by the hour, each hour of productivity lost through employees updating their profiles or adding a ‘Twitpic’, could prove costly. Most organisations these days do have set guidelines about the use of social media in the work place, however their implementation is a major hassle.

  1. Furthermore, the use of company resources in these activities is quite substantial. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc require a large bandwidth. Also, downloading pictures and videos streamed through these sites involves additional costs. Viruses and malware also pose a serious threat to the safety of the IT systems. Numerous applications available through Facebook are potential sources for these viruses.Multiple social networks, from Twitter and Google+ to Orkut and MySpace create an information overload that is difficult to manage. People juggling between these sites have trouble processing all the information making the whole exercise excessively taxing. A 2009 study by three Stanford University professors on cognitive control concluded that chronic media multi-taskers are more susceptible to distraction.
  2. Social networking at workplace can also cause confidentiality issues. An angry employee can use these sites to leak sensitive information. Sensitive information may also be leaked unintentionally to public causing financial and credibility loss for a company.
  3. Another potential disadvantage of social networking at workplace is that it can easily be cause strain between employees. For example employees of one group may comment about low level work of another group leading to tensions between them. Employees can also show dissent against their bosses or management on a public forum of social media which tarnishes image of the company. Immature employees can actually get into "social-media" fight which can spoil whole environment of a company.
  4. Company’s image may also get compromised if employees post bad comments about the company. Today prospective employees to prospective clients everyone is on one or another social media. A negative image (even if false) can hurt business prospects.
  5. Social networking websites have, at times, been used for the purpose of furthering political agendas. This has proved to be significant disadvantage of social networking at many places. China’s blocking of Twitter and YouTube a few months before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, or the use of Facebook as a medium for instigating and spreading the message that led to riots in London, have been questioned. However these are subjective in nature and could be interpreted in a positive light as well.
Social media has brought to the world a common medium for thoughts, words and expression. However its correct and efficient usage is completely dependent on how it is managed. Being aware of the risks and vulnerabilities that we are exposed to through these media only empowers further to use them in a positive way. It is up to us to make sure that social networking does not turn into social dysfunction.


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