Screenshot of App.net, a new, paid-for social network being positioned as an ad-free alternative to Facebook and Twitter.
Still think social media is a big fat waste of time? Guess again.
According to a new report by USA Today that uses the Chicago-based Trunk Club as a centerpiece example, social media can make companies more efficient and even tighter with each other -- which is counter to a lot of criticisms levied against the myriad of platforms, like that it further isolates us and also distracts us. I think the truth lays somewhere in between, and, like anything, can be used in either direction.
Anyway, Trunk Club Co-Founder/CEO Brian Spaly told USA Today that "he credits Chatter with fostering camaraderie among the stylists. Notably, chitchatting tends to revolve around work issues. For instance, Spaly recently used Chatter to mention a weekend event he attended — but only to pass along a tip about better ways to pack a trunk, based on feedback from a customer he met at a badminton tournament."
And as USA Today correctly points out, "companies are obsessed with squeezing more productivity from workers" which means, well, it's not like employees can get any less productive at work. Believe me, everyone is using social media during their day. My friends are on Gchat and Twitter. I don't know who's on Facebook anymore because I peaced out of that platform a long time back. But people are using all these platforms and more on their phones or are using services like Twuffer to bypass your systems in place to block people from using Twitter.
Actually, these assertions are nothing new -- as evidenced by a 2009 Australian study that asserts "surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity" -- but what is new are all these ways to bypass and override restrictions workplaces try to instill. It's a bit like software piracy: Many hackers and pirates take ultra-tight security as a challenge, and also an implied statement of mistrust from the issuing company.
So, don't wave the red cape at the bull. Wave the white flag and tweet about it.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.