5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Using Social Media at Work

Social media use in the workplace is on the rise, both for aspects of the job and as a break from it. While social media can create benefits for companies in areas like recruiting, reputation management, and connecting with customers or colleagues, there are also hazards of using social media at work.

Here are some common pitfalls of social media in the workplace, and how to avoid them.

1. Wasting Productive Time.

Checking social media on your break time is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, as long as your employer doesn’t have a rule against social media access at work. But social media has a way of drawing you in, and before you know it, break time is over and you are still browsing away. If you have trouble with boundaries when it comes to social media use, it might be better to save it for outside work hours when you aren’t being paid.

2. Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Many things are said on social media, but a good number of them are untrue. Make it a habit to research before you share information with anyone else Have a skeptical mindset about things you see posted to avoid unnecessary drama and problems. This is good advice generally, but doubly so when it pertains to colleagues and others at your workplace.

3. Too much information

Social media encourages sharing, and people routinely share more than necessary at least some of the time. Revealing too much about your workplace, colleagues, or even controversial or unpopular personal beliefs may put your job in jeopardy. Therefore, it is wise to exdrcise caution when sharing personal information on social media.

4. Blurring The Lines

In the past, the line between the professional and the personal was pretty clear-cut. Today, most people have co-workers and supervisors accessing their social media, which can blur the line between business and personal relationships. Chances are, some of your work connections may not have appropriate boundaries and could bring work issues or problems up on social media during off hours. This can quickly result in stress and burnout. To avoid this, set clear boundaries for yourself and stick to them.

5. Privacy settings Are Only So Effective

Nothing on social media is ever really private. However,  many people aren’t aware of this and assume that their privacy settings protect them. Even if your followers or friends can’t share your posts with others through social media, they can easily take screenshots or save pages and then share those in a variety of ways, including on other platform or in emails.

The bottom line is, you should never, ever post something on social media that you don’t want everyone at your workplace (and everyone else) to know.

Social media creates immediate hazards to employees’ focus and dedicated work time. Therefore, it’s up to employers to set clear policies about social media usage and consistently enforce them. Doing so will help govern employee behavior and expose violations before they cause problems that spill over into the workplace.

CCSU offers a continuing education presentation about social media in the workplace which explains the importance of decision-making and other workplace issues related to social media. Join our mailing list for information on all the continuing education courses we offer.

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