Employers monitoring social media use of employees or recruits.

Employers monitoring social media use of employees or recruits.

Employers monitoring social media use of employees or recruits.

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Employers monitoring social media use of employees or recruits. The use of social networking software by professionals is increasing dramatically. How it is used, whether it enhances or reduces productivity, and how enterprise-friendly design and use might evolve are open questions. We examine attitudes and behaviors in a large, technologically-savvy organization through a broad survey and thirty focused interviews. We find extensive social and work uses, with complex patterns that differ with software system and networker age. Tensions arise when use spans social groups and the organization’s firewall. Although use
is predominantly to support weak ties whose contribution to productivity can be difficult to prove, we anticipate rapid uptake of social networking technology by organizations.

The use of social networking sites (SNS), which arrived commercially about a decade ago, has rapidly gained momentum. By late 2008, MySpace and Facebook each had 60 million U.S. users and accounted for 6%-8% of all time spent online. As is often true of digital communication technologies, students are enthusiastic adopters. Whether or not it enhances academic achievement, it is of value to students, for whom social networking can vie with studying as their primary occupation. Enterprise acceptance of a new technology often lags student use. As discussed in, in the 1990s some researchers still argued that organizations would discover that email reduced productivity
and remove it. Ten years later, industry analysts made similar arguments about instant messaging—IM was a way students wasted time and should be avoided by organizations. Now email is mission-critical and some managers and executives use IM. In the past two years, SNS has established a significant presence in enterprises. Facebook, initially restricted to universities, opened


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