When your "social media problem" isn't really about social media


Cisco just released one of those big reports that is bound to get everybody all aflutter. The Cisco 2010 Midyear Security Report is subtitled, "The impact of global security threats and trends on the enterprise." No points for guessing that I jumped straight to the social media section, after seeing this headline at Mashable.com:

Employees Ignore Social Media Policies, Play “FarmVille” on Company Time

I suspect I will have that link forwarded to me once or twice in the next couple of days. No, wait. I mean a thousand times.

Here's a quote from the Mashable article, summarizing some of the findings. (Yes, I am that lazy.)

7% of the sample who access Facebook at work, “spend an average of 68 minutes per day” playing FarmVille. Mafia Wars and Cafe World also proved to be extremely distracting; the former is played by 5% of survey participants for an average of 52 minutes per day, while the latter (4 % of the sample) spend 36 minutes each day on game play.

This is not trivial. This is not insignificant. Social media can be a productivity drain. But so can the Web. So can the phone. So can talking to co-workers. So can... air. Chairs. Doors. I once saw a co-worker at a previous job sit in her chair, handbag on her lap, and stare into space from 4:45 until 5:00, then get up and go home.

If people don't want to work, are bored with their jobs, don't understand their contribution to the organization, how it affects the bottom line and why it's in their best interest to do their jobs well, they will zone out. The way they choose to zone out is not the issue.

If your employees are averaging 68 minutes a day on FarmVille, you don't have a social media problem. You have a performance management problem.

photo by taberandrew


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