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Understanding How Social Media Affects People In and Out of the Workplace

23 April 2021

As technology constantly changes and is further integrated into our daily lives, we are now more than ever reliant on social media. From the moment we wake up until the time we sleep, we are glued to our screens. Social Media has proven itself to be truly addictive. The effects of social media on our daily lives have been enormous; something that would have been unthinkable even in the past. 

No matter where we are, we utilize social media sites and apps as part of our daily routine. We strive to be constantly updated with the recent social media trends and news. However, excessive use of social media can affect our relationships and even our work performance. Irresponsible social media use can also take a toll on our personal development and how we interact with others. 

Why We Rely on Social Media

As we have moved further into the digital age, we communicate and interact with our friends, colleagues, and families via the world wide web. We use social media apps and messaging tools to relay our thoughts and emotions. This is especially apparent due to the worldwide need to stay at home and keep safe from the virus. 

We have transferred to a more digital lifestyle and gone are the days where we simply have meaningful and personal meetings with our peers. Social media has truly transformed our lives. 

Great Impact and Possible Consequences of Using Social Media

The very act of using social media allows your activities to be monitored. Not only by a person's friends and followers but even by social media sites and even trolls or hackers conducting social engineering research. As a result, sharing the wrong thing online can have a variety of consequences. As an employee, the more it is needed for you to be more careful. Listed below are a few examples:

1. Social media plays a role in one's digital branding- if you are known online or your personal information and data are throughout social media apps and platforms, it is easy to leave a positive or negative impact in your life.

2. There is a greater risk for information to be more susceptible to data breach and leaks.  Another danger is the leakage of classified information. Of course, intentional leaks are unethical and potentially illegal. However, often inadvertently shared information on social media reveals company and personal information that should be kept private.

3. Your information can easily be spread throughout social media platforms. This poses a grave danger when sensitive data and information is in the wrong hands 

4. You are more susceptible to online and cyberbullying and harassment. Employees do not have unrestricted freedom of speech when it comes to their boss. For all workers, the workplace must be a safe and healthy environment, and the same anti-harassment and discrimination laws that apply in person often apply online. As a remedy and safety precaution for this, you should do something about it. Anything that is culturally insensitive, or insulting should be avoided. Dissing your boss on the internet also makes you look terrible.

5. Careless use of social media can cause harm to your professional career. Inappropriate social media sharing may also harm your career. According to a survey, 70% of employers use social networking sites to screen job applicants. 57 percent of those who had already done so discovered material that made them decide not to recruit applicants.

6. Reckless social media use poses many risks to your home and family life. 

Social media knowledge sharing may affect our personal lives in addition to posing risks in the workplace. The more personal details people share, the more likely they are to become targets for identity theft. 

7. Your family members can catch the negative impacts of social media use. 

Kids, who are too young and inexperienced to recognize the threats, are particularly vulnerable to social media. Cyberbullying can be harmful to one's social and psychological well-being. 

8. As a professional who works for companies and various clients, wrong and irresponsible social media use can inadvertently reveal intellectual property. Any information from projects and company programs that should not be shared can affect operations. It can be detrimental to the company since it reveals its strategies to its competitors. It is essential to be careful and responsible with social media use. 

9. Irresponsible social media use can increase conflict. The trolling or arguing with rivals online, or with customers who publish complaints about a business, will only reinforce any negative information that has already been shared. 

10. Responsible social media use should not entail oversharing of information. Important data should be kept private. Failure to safeguard sensitive information can cause more harm than good, and it can make you and your company more susceptible to hackers. Sharing personal information about others – clients, vendors, and coworkers – should never be done. Do not give out personal information to strangers on social media or anywhere else. 

Knowing the Risks of Social Media Usage for Employees

According to industry studies, 77 percent of workers confess to using social media while on the job. It is a perfect way to remain linked to our personal and professional networks, with 3.2 billion users worldwide. It makes us feel like we are a part of the action.

Although individuals control their own social media accounts, their use may have unintended and even negative consequences for others, including their employers. Understanding these dangers would allow everyone to use social media in a manner that is secure for users, coworkers, and businesses.

How Organizations Handle Proper Social Media Usage Practices

We often use our devices for work activities, and we also conduct personal business using equipment provided by our employers. As a person and as a member of the company you work for, it is critical to always be responsible for your social media usage and actions. Many businesses already have social media policies in place for their workers to follow either on the job or at home. 

Some businesses prohibit employees from using social media in the workplace. To others, this can seem excessively stringent or intrusive, but to others, it is wise. Reasonable online conduct standards will help everyone in a company understand their roles, be more cautious, and protect their own and their employer's reputations.

While almost everyone wants to use social media in some way, it is necessary to be aware of the dangers. Workplace knowledge of safe social media use can and should be extended at home as well. Observing safe social conduct would help you and your entire family.