Yes, social media can be a benefit but it can also be a major distraction when you are trying to get work done. Social media is a great means of keeping up to day on things but if you were to read everything on your Twitter feed or every link on Facebook you would never get anything else done.
There are times I open my Twitter account and leave it alone just to see in half an hour how many twitter feeds I receive. Now if I were to have read all of those feeds and went to all the links I would have spend more than that time following the feeds that I received. There are times that the feed is helpful but there are other times when the feed gets out of control. So while writing this entry I left my twitter account open (I am following 111 accounts) and here is what I got.
Tweets received 32
Tweets containing links 7
Of course if I had followed the links that were in the tweets and actually read all the tweets I probably would have spent more than half an hour doing all of this. Even just seeing some of the brief comments might have meant that I would have gone and done some further looking to see if I could have found out more about what was being mentioned.
Facebook is another area where you can lose tons and tons of time just looking at the different things that people have liked or posted. More and more Facebook posts are to articles that someone has read. The other part of the feed now is there are more and more suggested posts which can also lead you to look up different things. Besides your own personal feed there is now trending section which can be a major distraction and then all the “sponsored” adds that are begging for your attention.
There are a lot of businesses that are now blocking social media sites from their internet access. I understand why this is as people can lose a lot of productivity just by checking their social media accounts during the day. The younger generation doesn't like it when they can't check their accounts as they feel like they might be missing something major. The only thing is that when they are checking their feed they are not getting the work done that they should be doing. A lot of the younger generation is getting around the business policies as they are checking their social media on their mobile devices which are not regulated.
Social media is now taking over all the conversations that people had before on the phone or even through email. Look at some of the twitter feed that is visible and you will see some conversations going on.
Remember that during the day that social media isn't something that you should be living in. Yes at lunch time it is a great time to check to see what is going on but other than that social media should be for the evenings and weekends. If your job doesn't need you to be on social media then you shouldn't be spending hours on it.
Social media really can be a benefit or a distraction. It is up to you have to handle it and if you really need to be on social media during the day.