Managing Social Media in the Work Place

Social media is becoming so pervasive that to ignore it is tantamount to subscribing to the ostrich syndrome. As senior leaders of your companies, it is best to examine how to leverage social media by harvesting the upsides and addressing the down sides.


Two other partnering technologies also served to make social marketing more pervasive. The first is the advent of smart phones like Apple’s proprietary iPhones and Google’s open source Android software married with Samsung and HTC hardware primarily. I have left out Microsoft and BlackBerry as they have sort of lost the mind share of their customers.

The second is the introduction of high speed wireless technologies like 3G and LTE to carry the heavier traffic that these smartphones consume at more reasonable rates. Being digital it can make more efficient use of finite radio frequency spectrum translating to lower cost for the consumers.


We shall examine  FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Goggle+. From a usage perspective, we can group FaceBook, LinkedIn and Goggle+ as an information sharing platform. It basically dishes out information to pre-determined sets of customized groups called friends, links and circles respectively. The latent power is its ability to go viral very quickly as information gets relayed down further vertically like a tree spreading out from the tree trunks. These content can be a text, picture or even movies.

Of late, LinkedIn also provides services to HR functions by using their automated résumé profiler. Job seekers, wise up om this.

Twitter also functions like wise but is limited to 140 characters. It is very useful and potent. Recently, A twitter account was hacked to send out wrong material information of a company and her share price tanked for a couple of minutes. Double check the information from an alternate source unless you have no choice.

Right Angle Turn

Before the advent of cellphones or in its initial phase, the functions were restricted to phone calls. It was also a sort of status symbol as both cost of handsets and usage were pretty hefty. The first few smartphones were primarily made by Nokia with Symbian software but the take up rate was patchy. Microsoft  and RIM also introduced their line-up and RIM was most probably the most successful in the enterprise space primarily because of their stable and more secure email platform. For once, executives could read and reply to emails outside their offices.

The right angle turn most probably happened with the introduction of iPhone and competitive data plans to ignite the spark of this paradigm. It was fashionable to have an iPhone. It displaced the existing market leaders like Nokia and Ericsson in a space of less than a year. Apple maintained market leadership for a number of years without much peer to challenge them until Samsung decided to discard her image of selling phones based on lower price points to a premium player to challenge Apple. The relationship between Apple and Samsung was very complex as Samsung was also a supplier to Apple. It is like sleeping with your enemies initially. It went so bad that legal eagles got involved in suits and counter suits for patent infringements claims in the courts of many countries.

Work and Play

The Y and Z generations basically harvested the framework done mostly by the generation X. Being born into this phase, their viewpoints of technology and out look of life integrates both work and play. They considered the concept where work were only done within the confines of office as dated as work can be done at any place save for some professions. However for such professions, they can or are working part of the time in cyberspace. The upside being able to cut down on travel time. The other social implication is the blurring between work and play time.On the same note that they believe work can be done anywhere, they also believe in having adequate private space and time to go onto their social media. What then do we do in such situations? A smart  manage/supervisor will keep enough straight jacket on to ensure work is done and allow time for the private space and time.

Collaboration tools like multiple parties conference can also reduce the need to travel.

Internet materials can range from peer reviewed materials down to outright cheating and it is not advisable to treat it as the gospel truth without verification, Lastly, social marketing could also bring your products,services and image to a new level or down the chute with the same velocity.

Walk into any cafes, restaurant or shopping centers, it is common to see groups or couples armed with their smart phones either doing work, playing games or watching their shows with headphones of course. Sometimes they start talking or listening only to eat or when their movies have ended. In my mind, these  are hardly gathering as they spend more time with their smart  phones than with each other. This phenomenon is also very common at home robbing the family of quality time together.

Where do we draw the line on acceptable use policy at workplace? Social media access is also a necessary tool for many employees. There is no right or wrong answers but either extremes is ill advisable. However for pornography, it is an absolute no-no in most companies. Knee jerk reactions just because of a few out layers is also not advisable.

On a concluding note, social media looks like rock and a hard place but being aware of the factors might provide you the right level of light for you to take the next step but not to see light at the end of the tunnel. It might not be a root problem and simply a symptom of issues such as motivation, home front issues, unreasonable supervisor  etc.

Peter Lye is a consultant with vast experience in operations and IT infrastructure. Currently, he is a Financial Controller with Venturer.