Broadspring Consulting

It’s Not Facebook, It’s Work

What works on Facebook won’t work at work

Facebook seems to have taken over our lives

The way that we connect and communicate on Facebook seems to be the new norm. Rhink about moods, emojis, photos, broad sharing and the list goes on. At the mid point of 2016 Facebook had 1.7 billion monthly active users according to Statista.com. That is from a global population of 7.4 billion as at March this year. Impressive stats.

Facebook provides amazing access and connection. Yet it also creates potential problems in the workplace.

There is nothing wrong with using Facebook – typed by a woman who has an active profile and manages several Facebook pages for both business and hobby purposes. The point of this blog post is to remind us that communication and interaction is a human pursuit and needs to occur on and offline to be fully effective.

Workplaces blend technology and face to face interactions and we need to possess and keep developing our skills in both formats. The ease with which we can access all social media seems to be lulling us into a false sense that things are ok and that we are connected with each other when the opposite may actually be occurring.

Three key workplace problems created by Facebook

  1. Facebook labels every connection a friend. Look at you own Facebook account and you will moist likely see people on your friends list who would not fit the usual definition of friend. Would you go for coffee or a drink with every person on your facebook friends list? Of course not.
    The challenge this creates at work is that it is dulling our ability to differentiate between work colleagues and social friends. Behaviour in the workplace needs to be different to social behaviour.
  2. Facebook allows us to unfollow and unfriend with the click of a button. This is not the way that human interactions function in the face to face world. If there is tension at work you need to find a way to manage it and resolve it in order to preserve a working relationship.
    Facebook has taught us that we can just unfriend and that’s it. No communication necessary. Many workplace conflicts occur from what is left unsaid as well as what has been said.
  3. Facebook is one of the platforms that encourages us to type rather than talk. Many things are easier to type in an email than to say – we kid ourselves that it is faster to email. Yet how many times does one email end the communication? Many of us have been involved in email conversations that have as many as 12 (or more) messages and which easily get cc’d to others.

Lessons to take away

Facebook like every piece of technology enables us to communicate very easily.
And that is a good thing.

The first lesson to remember is that a multi channel approach to communication is likely to be most effective. Think about marketing campaigns which have multiple channels and contact points.

Workplaces are often filled with people who we may not choose as friends yet we need to be connected and work with them to get our jobs done and enable the business.
It’s really important to remember that Facebook encourages us to use pictures, check ins, reactions and text to communicate. When dealing with others at work it is important to remember different preferences for taking in information (visual, auditory or feelings based). When communicating with others at work, remember to adapt to the other person.
The world of work can be a complicated place – especially when we use tools and techniques that are not suited for that purpose.