Social Media in the Workplace

By Emily Wolfslayer

( Meyer, M. (2018, February 23). people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers. UnSplash. )

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term social media? How about the first thing that comes to mind when I say social media at work? Before reading this article, I would have immediately said social media does not coincide with work. However, what if I told you there was a scientific study that proved social media can actually increase productivity within the workplace? R. Jafar of Shenzhen University concluded in his study there are many aspects of social media (further noted as SM) that can surprisingly improve work performance. Here, I’ll explore his findings and how they relate to my experience as a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. 

Study Findings

One of the main points from the study to evaluate first is the difference between personal use of SM and work-related use of SM. The study defined these terms as follows: “Personal use of SM by employees helps them share various information or feelings with their workmates as well as obtaining various types of information from their peers, which could potentially be beneficial to their jobs.

Work-related use of SM by employees allows them to connect with their workmates or customers, thereby facilitating the sharing and gaining of useful information for performance enhancement” (Jafar, 2019). Both uses of SM in the workplace– or in this case– as a student have reasons as to why they can positively affect work performance. I will discuss how both personal and work-related SM uses have improved my work performance at UNCW. 

Knowledge Sharing

According to the study, “the effective use of [social media] can enhance employees’ capabilities associated with employees’ job performance and organizations” (Jafar, 2019). One of the first reasons SM use is significant in increasing work performance is the ability to access and share knowledge with fellow employees or peers. In relation to my experience as a student, SM has provided me with many ways to obtain new information as well as share information with others which has improved my experience at the University. SM provides opportunities for students to follow clubs, the school page, and other students. These outlets make it perfect for a quick way to release new information about events on campus, class cancellations, or information about upcoming club meetings. I have learned about so many new clubs and events they’re planning just because of SM. Thanks to SM, I have become a more active and aware student on campus which has improved my life as a student. 

( Distel, A. (2019, July 24). person using phone and laptop. UnSplash. )

Interpersonal Communication

The second way SM has helped me become a better student is through improved communication. Jafar states, “Usually, employees share and obtain information from friends and colleagues to maintain a sense of social relationship, and this is how knowledge sharing or obtaining phenomenon positively influences job performance and learning capabilities. It is essential for an organization to enhance internal consistency and to smoothen the communication process among the employees by taking advantage of SM” (Jafar, 2019). 

SM has given me a whole new outlet to communicate with my peers. I have been able to use SM to communicate with fellow students on a professional and personal level which has provided me with new friends and connections. I have used SM to meet my roommate, other students, and even friends within the communication studies department. My work performance would have lacked if it wasn’t for the communication among my peers on SM because I would not have met so many people and felt like a valued member of the community. Feeling included is one of the ways communication through SM has helped me become a more focused student as well as a better communicator. 

( Campaign Creators. (2018, November 20). man standing in front of people sitting beside table with laptop computers. UnSplash. )


I found this article extremely interesting because it talked about social media within a workplace, even though a career in IMC would be all about social media! I learned about work-related SM use and personal SM use. This article is important to the practice of IMC because it shows how significant social media is in today’s society. Not only is it necessary for personal communication, but it is necessary for brand communication now. Every company needs a social media/IMC team that will help grow its company and expand its outreach. What I liked about the article was how it explained that using social media is actually a good thing, because normally social media is referred to in a bad light. However, in regard to work, social media is a positive thing that can strengthen employee relationships as well as company relationships with their consumers.