Social media a time-waster?

A lecturer posted this piece on TAFESA’s Yammer network this morning. Of course, there are people who waste their time. There are times when you should disconnect. But I think that a policy approach is the wrong way to look at it. If people want to waste time, they’ll simply find other ways to do it. Time wasting at work pre-dates social media, I think.

I responded in kind to the post. I was rather robust too, though I did not mean to be. It got me thinking about conversations. I am bad at small-talk, but I recognise that conversations build relationshps. Then someone on twitter posted this, and I’ve read it a few times. I really like this; ‘Twitter is the back fence that you share with your neighbours. Except that your neighbours are all over the world…’.

I think that if you’re going to err, it’s best to err on the side of conversing too much than too little. Workgroups that have conversations are productive because they have invested themselves in forming relationships. Which makes being at work more interesting. Which means that work gets done, and people are happier.

Later that morning two colleagues (Basia and Trudy) had separate conversations with me about what to do with two wall-mounted whiteboards in our store room. One idea was to mount one near our photocopiers. We could use it to gain feedback from our students. They could write on it, we could write responses. One of us said ‘it could be like a blog, except not online’. Another said ‘but we could post those online and use it as a blog to communicate with our students’. What had been a simple administrative chat turned into an animated conversation about how to better reach our students and have conversations wih them. Which I think is part of our job. How do we do that if we don’t converse with each other?

It’s been one of those mornings where it feels good to be at work. It also reminded me that I don’t tell my workteam how awesome they really are. I should rectifty that.


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