Biz Break: Just how much do workers use social media for work?

Top Of The Order:  

No, Really, I Check It For Work: One of the benefits of being online most of the day is that you have near-instantaneous access to just about whatever information source you may need to do your job.

And you also have your Facebook page, Twitter feed and LinkedIn profile to goof around with.

OK, that may be a harsh way of looking at the role that social media plays in our daily lives, but let’s be honest: Who hasn’t been at their desk and, after working for a while on the “Penske file,” gone and spent a few minutes (hours?) going over to Facebook and getting lost in the rabbit hole that is looking up your high school girlfriend or boyfriend to see who they ended up with? It’s called taking a “mental” break.

And according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, that mental break is the No. 1 reason why people use social media when they are at work.

The survey of 2,003 American adults, including 795 who said they were either full- or part-time workers, suggests that while they are at work, many employees are using their social-media pages to disengage from what’s going on in their work environment. According to the Pew data, 34 percent of respondents said they used social media to take a mental break from work, and 27 percent went to social-media platforms so they could connect with family or friends.

“These digital platforms offer the potential to enhance worker productivity by fostering connections with colleagues and resources around the globe,” said Pew researchers Kenneth Olmstead, Cliff Lampe and Nicole Ellison. “At the same time, employers might worry that employees are using these tools for non-work purposes while on the job or engaging in speech in public venues that might reflect poorly on their organization.”

While many workers are going on social media for non-work purposes, the survey also found that workers, for the most part, do use their office internet access to complete job-related tasks. The study showed 58 percent of respondents said they “frequently” (37 percent) or “sometimes” (21 percent) went online to complete work responsibilities. Still, 25 percent of the survey’s participants said they “never” use the internet for job-related purposes, while 17 percent said they “sometimes” did.

(By the way…Your high-school girlfriend? Sorry, she married the scion of the local real estate baron. Your high-school boyfriend? He married Tanya, who still works at the nail salon.)

Middle Innings:

Check That Bias At The Keyboard: Who said the following at an American Enterprise Institute event Wednesday night?

“We don’t have a point of view. We’re not trying to make you have a point of view.”

Give up?

It was Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. With Facebook recently getting caught up in a brouhaha over whether it directs its trending-news curators to promote stories of a more liberal bent, Sandberg spoke at a gathering of the AEI, a conservative think tank. Sandberg said Facebook is instituting companywide classes to help employees manage their biases, including political ones.

“We think about helping people understand different points of view and being open to different points of view,”Sandberg said. “We’re dealing with political bias as well going forward.”

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Thursday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from NeoPhotonics, Barracuda Networks, Cypress Semiconductor, Twitter and Sigma Designs.

In The Red: Decliners included Tesla and Marketo.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.6 percent to 4,910.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.3 percent to close at 18,011.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also rose 1.3 percent to end the day at 2,113.

Quote Of The Day: “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor.” — Robert Plant, after a jury ruled that he and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page didn’t “steal” the intro to the song “Stairway To Heaven”. Now, Plant and Page don’t have to part with what could have been $40 million in damages.

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Photo: Facebook screen shot. (Bay Area News Group archives)


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