According to a national poll conducted a little more than a decade ago, just 5% of American adults used at least one social media platform. Today, that number has soared up to 72%, primarily divided among Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter users.

Given the popularity of these apps, it stands to reason that our colleagues and bosses end up scrolling through our profiles more often than we’d like. A massive new survey from The Interview Guys of over 1,000 employed Americans disclosed that three in 10 respondents said that they accept friend requests from their employees just to keep the peace and three in four members of this same group are even friends with their colleagues on Snapchat-an app defined by its intimate nature. Even more shockingly still, is the one in 10 employees that said that they were required to share their personal social media accounts with their employers and recruiters during the hiring process. 

Corporate censorship

There were a total of 1,024 participants involved in the new survey. Forty-six percent of these were men, with a margin of error of 5% using 95% confidence interval testing. Nearly 54% were women, with a margin of error of 4% using 95% confidence interval testing. All of the participants ranged in age from 18 to 74 with a mean of 36.1 and standard deviation of 10. Nearly 29% were between the ages of 20 and 29. Forty-one percent were between the ages of 30 and 39. Just about 17% were between the ages 40 to 49, with a margin of error of 8% using 95% confidence interval testing and the remaining 12% were aged 50 to 74.

Forty percent of participants reported fairly strict social media policies at their respective offices, with 36% specifically avoiding talking about politics online in accordance with it, 34% refrained from posting pictures of themselves enjoying drugs and/or alcohol, and the remaining try to curb the amount of language that could be con-screwed as as anti-company statements available online. One in three respondents said that they personally know a colleague that was terminated for actions observed by their employers on their personal social media accounts.

To the authors add,

“Nearly 27% of people admitted to censoring their content for a quarter of their posts, followed by 14% censoring themselves in half of their social media posts that colleagues could see. People at least 50 years old also censored their social media content, 20% more often than employees in their 20s.”

Despite the corporate antipathy observed in The Interview Guys’ survey, independent research has shown that employees that using social media during work hours actually boosts productivity and engagement. It also makes employees more likely to leave their job. But if they think social media is helping productivity then why is it also making them quit? The survey is full of even more conundrums. It also found that the employees that were active on at least one social media platform thought that it enabled them to cooperate with their coworkers more easily. Eighty-two percent of employees believe that social media can improve work relationships in general and an additional 60% are confident that social media beneficially aids the decision making process.

The authors report, “Facebook was the most popular platform for building social relationships with co-workers (nearly 98%), followed by Instagram (82%), Snapchat (almost 76%), and Twitter (65%). And while some companies may have strict rules about how their employees utilize social media, many people admitted to censoring their content or using privacy filters to ensure their co-workers couldn’t see everything going on in their personal life.”

Originally published on The Ladders.

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