Let me run a scenario by you.
You just got back from lunch and your boss asks to see you. You sit down and in front of your boss and immediately notice a report that shows a lot of colorful graphs. It's an output report of some kind. Wonder what that is? you think to yourself.
He hands it to you and asks you to take a look. Your eyes glance over the report and suddenly it dawns on you this is report is about you! In fact it's an Internet usage report otherwise known as a watch report. You'd heard a rumor about one of these but had never seen one up close and personal. Then it dawns on you! It's a breakdown of your Internet usage.
One of the big graphs shows how much of your time has been spent on Facebook and Twitter. A bead of sweat forms on your forehead. Your heart begins to race. Holy schnikes, you spend a lot of time on Amazon and Facebook! On the second page it shows a comparison of your time on the "company sites" your supposed to be on all day and the ones you actually do spend your time on all day. If it were a race it would be too close to call.
Now the sweat is really pouring from your forehead.
Last week in St. Louis I met a "social media watcher" for a midsize but well known company. Her role is to manage and monitor what her company employees are doing throughout the day on the Internet. Think Internal Affairs for the police department and you might get a better picture of what this woman does for a living. She actually spends her time focusing on catching people goofing off...online.
Turns out more and more companies are using their social media people in a dual capacity. These savvy geeks are often in the untenable position of not only promoting the latest buzz about their company but in their free time, are clamping down on how much FarmVille and Instagramming their co-workers are doing.
Now before you get all upset and start complaining about this big brother approach to business, let me ask you a question. Is the outrage you feel outlined in the above hypothetical scenario actually because you got caught or that your company went to such extremes to catch you?
I know when I think of this scenario, I'd be upset too. I'd be upset because honestly I should have known better. I should never have allowed it to happen let alone had it pointed out to me so blatantly. That's like rubbing salt in the wound. It hurts!
Regardless, companies are resorting to such measures because they are having to. They are dealing with a workforce that is not only using company time and assets to play on sites like Facebook but there facing untold productivity lost due to personal cell phone usage (how many times in a day does your honey or significant other call you or text you in a days time?), instant messaging and a host of other non-work related distractions that kill our productivity.
Want proof? Here's an article that backs up the impact that companies are facing:
But back to you or at least the hypothetical you for a second. The reality is your company does not provide you Internet access for any other reason than for you to do your job. It's not there to upload your latest pics. It's not there to like your friend's quippy little updates. And it's certainly not there for you to manage your personal social networking relationships. It's there as a resource for work.
Work, you know the thing you get paid for.
Unless you have an explicit title or job description that allows you to be on social media and networking sites like Facebook all day (like you're a social media manager), you shouldn't be. Especially in today's world where there is a line of people willing to show up and do your job every day without complaint or expectation that Facebook is a God given right. Here's a hint, in the working world my friend, it isn't nor will it ever be.
How will Facebook get you fired? I don't know exactly but my suggestion is you better not find out. You better start showing some personal responsibility lest you may find your own company's Internal Affairs come a calling with pretty little graphs, charts and a pink slip to boot.
And I would guess, "Liking" that at that point won't be an option.