People seem to get annoyed when they see me on Facebook during my 9 to 5. So I’d like to clarify a couple of things;
1) Yes, I use Facebook and Twitter for work. Terrible I know but my job requires me to use it to communicate with students in an informal way.
2) I also use Hootsuite to schedule posts, so you may find from time to time there is post pinging up from me when in fact I am not at my desk or on my phone.
3)I use Social Networking sites to communicate with students as best I can and am admin, or help contribute, on a total of 2-4 Facebook groups each day. To maintain activity and membership I have to make regular and relative posts every day.
Up until very recently I was not utilising Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com) properly and so I was posting several things within an hour which drove people crazy. During this time I really was “on Facebook a lot”. I have now made it so that I can set things up to go out to students which helps them in their job searches while I am away from my desk (@SotonManEmploy on Twitter and http://www.facebook.com/groups/SotonMangEmployability/ on Facebook). I am not a careers adviser but I can research and provide advice with proper referencing and can refer students to the people who can help them which, you know, they can take or leave.
I used to think when I was a student that Facebook was an excellent means of keeping in touch with people. Now in both a professional sense and a personal sense I have been able to appreciate it’s flaws or limitations. I am not about to now talk about the “evils” of Social Networking, neither am I going to address the idea that people get addicted to it. But I will talk about the fact that Facebook is both a convenience and an inconvenience.
First of all, communicating with and being able to help students effectively is a daunting task. Even though I studied here. I thought that,as I had once been, students were engaged and interested in what is going on in The University. Especially efforts to support them such as the buddy scheme for undergrads, the PG Peer advisers for the post grads and the recently launched employability resources available to them on Twitter and Facebook. I do not mean to tar them all with the same brush. There is a resounding feeling that it is very easy for people to click “like” or “follow” or “agree” or “attending” and then to be able to avoid engaging with the content and activities completely. It feels as though I am shouting, or rather typing, into an empty tunnel or cave. Like Gepetto standing at the edge of the whale’s mouth screaming “PINNOCHIO?!” a nicer analogy than banging ones head against a brick wall.
I don’t think this just applies to students but social networking and the nature of sharing information is intriguing. It astounds me that as a student and now working with them they don’t seem to want to help each other out. They have a common interest but seem to loath group work or any form of collaboration. Many taking the stance that their colleagues aren’t as clever or hardworking as them. Why?! They’re all in the same boat!
Finally, I want to talk about social networking and the nature of the 24/7 office. Now as I previously mentioned I use social media as part of my job but I do so when I am comfortable. Social media sites are now so accessible I don’t mind if a link pops up on my phone and I can pass it on to people. I’m happy to do that. But in some cases people who work for some companies (and I shall name no names) are expected to be constantly plugged in. To respond to customer or clients Facebook messages or tweets. With the whole team being logged in and the first member to see the post to respond. This means people can never switch off. And should therefore not be allowed. Unless they like it.