By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
Latinos are connecting twice as fast on the internet as the general population. We make up roughly 17% of those who use Twitter. Fifty-four percent of Latinos regularly use Facebook and 32% access the internet through smart phones compared to 20% of the larger population. All of this makes sense when you realize that Latinos love to stay in touch with family and friends and as we leverage social media to organize around the issues that impact our community.
So are you using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at work?
If your job title is social media specialist — of course you should! If not, check with your boss or your company’s HR department before you find yourself in trouble. Even if you think it’s safe to use social media on your personal tablet or your smart phone, rest assured your employer can determine if you were posting on sites during work hours. Your boss may see things differently regardless of whether you suggest you are using social media to connect with remote colleagues about work-related issues.
As the workforce continues to be dominated with Gen Ys — the digital native generation — the pressure to use social media will no doubt increase. This is especially true as employers discover that young employees consider the use of social media as “deal breakers” and will leave jobs that restrict the use of social media.
Regardless of these trends, some corporations are holding the line on giving employees access to social media sites from within their corporate internet access points by blocking access to popular sites.
What’s the big deal here?
For many employers, it boils down to two issues: productivity and security.
Even if you think you are only spending 10 minutes daily updating friends and family during the work day, multiply that by 50 employees – that’s about 8 hours total every day. If you can prove you are doing this during your official break time or lunch, you may be safe but the challenge is that when your friends and family text you to check your messages or the latest post by your cousin, they don’t know if you are on break or not. And most of us just can’t resist checking what that “ping” was all about.
Admit it. You know that’s true, right?
Given that today’s workplace is operating with so few workers, you’ll need to be careful no one accuses you of slacking off.
When it comes to security, you can be sure there will be some angry IT person at your desk if you are the one who let in a malware or virus. Some of those malicious software programs can truly undermine a company’s data and lead to more than just a few hours of down time. That being said, this kind of breach in security may cost you your job and could cost you some hard-earned cash for damages.
So is it worth taking a chance to get your social media fix at work?
Your decision must be based on your work place culture and your personal performance status. If you are at a company with liberal social media policies, you still have to look at your work routine to ask if that time spent posting is justified when you have a report due tomorrow. If you work at a company where social media is seen as a waste of time — you need to be careful to keep your personal brand in good shape and not set yourself up for criticism.
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™.