Infographic of the Day: Social Media Destroys Productivity

November 3rd, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

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So, you’ve just finished a task or an assignment and figure you deserve a little mental break. Why not check Facebook or Twitter? It will only take you five minutes, right? Wrong.

As American students and workers spend more time on the Internet and on social media sites in particular, their levels of productivity are tanking. The average college student might spend three hours checking their various social media sites, but only two hours studying. That discrepancy is reflected in lower GPAs. Workers aren’t faring much better, either. Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Taken all together, that costs the American economy $650 billion per year in lost productivity.

Social Media At Work

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1 comment

  1. Derryl Hermanutz says :

    My wife spent many years working in law firms and she has seen the effect of social media on newer employees. They can't 'work' without their smartphones strapped to their face, and while some claim to be good at 'multitasking' the fact is they are too distracted to competently accomplish anything at all. They are good at doing several things at once, badly.

    On the other hand my brother, who works in the IT business, tells me young workers can very competently accomplish short term tasks. But they too are distracted and need constant change to hold their attention. I suppose between their tasks they have time to check their social media. My brother is ok with it, but it would drive me nuts.

    I come from the "old school" branch of the construction business where personal distractions are not tolerated. You come to work, and you work. A friend of mine in the oil and gas drilling business tells me it's a good thing he doesn't manage rigs anymore, "because there would be deaths"..imposed by him!. Discipline in that dangerous work with fast heavy equipment is totally absent in young workers.

    A buddy of mine with a welding shop was telling me about hiring young people, "They tell me how much I will pay them and when they will have breaks and when they will have holidays." I asked him why he puts up with that crap. He said, "That's all there is."

    On the other hand my son ran a crew made up of his young buddies, and they were all excellent and highly productive workers. So not all young people are the same, though the trend is clear among everyone I know who has to hire young people.

    As a class, us boomers have raised a generation of entertainment consumers who feel entitled to "have a life", including during the time they're supposedly "working". "Work-life balance" is more like a life without working.

    I read an interesting piece about why we don't see more space aliens from highly advanced planets. Space exploration is long and boring and arduous and dangerous, and any culture that can develop space-faring technology can also invent virtual reality where you get the "experience" of space for a fraction of the price with no risks and no effort. So all the space aliens are engrossed in social media in their mom's basement tweeting about their virtual conquest of video game worlds, and Earth is safe for the time being.

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