The Gatehouse Blog

Social Media – A Double Edged Sword

Having heavily researched the use of social media within internal communications the benefits of it are apparent and wonderfully abundant, from getting your message heard quickly, gaining instant feedback from staff, communicating effectively with Gen Y, through to organising social events…it is changing the way we operate as communicators. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube it almost feels like they’ve always been there, making life easier and more entertaining both personally and professioanlly.

However, part of me feels that the jury is still very much out when it comes to internal communications and social media, the two don’t sit as comfortably as they do for external comms… Imagine if you will, the life of Sarah, 27, account manager and a valuable employee, she’s just got in from a 10 hour day and sat down with a microwaveable meal for one and ready to watch some TV whilst simultaneously browsing the web…

Now one could assume that she might log onto Facebook and here’s the question… would she really want to read a message on there from work whilst talking to her friends? Would she really want to have to think about work at home for another second? In fact…would you?

We all have that one person (or sometimes many people) on your social media account who constantly churn out annoying, self obsessed and irrelevant drivel…the danger is that without careful planning, that person could be you, hence the pervasiveness of social media has become a double edged sword in internal communications.

It has almost become a form of escapism for people, to socialise and to talk with friends, to gossip and sometimes laugh at others behind the relative comfort of your laptop. The blurring of professional and personal boundaries is a familiar problem and social media has provided a platform by which these boundaries have become increasingly blurred (more on that next time).

Therefore, if you’re going to use social media to communicate with your people, make sure A) you’re doing it for the right reasons, and not out of vanity, B) your people really want to be communicated with in this way and C) your messages are relevant and timely.

Remember as Mr. Cameron once said.. too many tweets might make a t#@!