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Motivations why people use social networks

“Fear drives managers to ban social media at work” writes Ragan.com. A poll of 424 professional communicators from around the globe showed that the number one reason to block social media sites was fear that these sites will impact productivity [negatively]. Security concerns ranked second and bandwidth concern ranked third among the reasons.

“Of those not allowed to use social media at work, 65 percent said their managers block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Flickr because they’re afraid employee productivity will suffer.”

– Most people are not going to abuse the privilege of using these sites, says Shel Holtz, one of my favourite podcasters.

I would like to agree with Shel, first because there are reasons to use social media that can have a positive impact on your job, and second because the line between work and spare time is becoming more and more blurry. As my Swedish readers will know, I have just conducted my own poll of 1,000 Swedish blog readers and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to give you a sneak preview of one of the survey questions.

When I asked 747 bloggers about the reasons why they are members of one or more social networks, the main reason was to “stay in touch with friends”. But several of the motivations are clearly work or career related:

* 61.6 said “as a way to stay in touch with former colleagues, classmates or suchlike”
* 54.1% said “to use as a common channel in which to communicate with friends/colleagues”
* 31.3% said “to network”
* 18.7% said “to connect with others in my profession”

Also, 43.0% said a reason was “to use technical features like sharing photos and such”, which could of course be both a private and work-related activity.

Blocking social media sites may not be an entirely good idea. There will always be people who abuse trust and would spend plenty of time on social media sites with non-work related activities, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks in the long run.

Footnote: Stay tuned for the results of the BlogSweden 3/BloggSverige 3 survey.

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