Twitter and productivity

According to a small survey (1,400 people) undertaken by IT Services and Technology company Morse, twittering workers ‘waste’ £1.4bn a year, with 57% of respondents using social networks for an average of 40 minutes each working day. You can find the report written up in the Financial Times, and I’ll post the direct link to the survey when it’s published. However, reading the FT summary and getting beneath the headlines is instructive. First, the small survey base (where were these ‘workers’ drawn from? How was the sample structured in terms of sector or seniority?) Second, the questions refer to ‘social networking’ rather than just Twitter. Third, how is the business cost calculated? What about the net effect of improved productivity because workers feel more connected, or can get things off their chest with friends, or have time to relax during meal or refreshment breaks? After all, you wouldn’t forbid an employee from meeting a friend for a chat over lunch? No, what really is at the heart of this is the security issues raised by some of the loopholes social networks bring with them (such as shortened URLs in tweets, which makes the linking website anonymous) and which may have cost implications for the business.