Research conducted by Swinburne Universityprofessor Dr Rajesh Vasa and internet firm MailGuard into social media habits of 50,000 workers has revealed that the average worker spends between 30 to 60 minutes online for personal reasons each day.
While other studies have drawn on consumer data and qualitative research, this is the first to scrutinise individual behaviour over an extended period.
The uses of internet for personal reasons tend to be comparatively banal: people check the news, weather and transport timetables. Sports news sites are particularly popular and online shopping is rising.
Only 20 per cent of staff were classified by the researchers as ‘heavy explorers’, exceeding a baseline of ‘normal’ that was set at 200 websites a month. It’s at this level that staff productivity is considered to deteriorate.
This information is especially interesting for unions who are considering engaging in social media as a serious, ongoing concern.
Because so many workers are online during work hours, on social networks like Facebook, this presents avenues for unions to communicate with members and potential members.
There are also avenues for unions to examine targeted online advertising, using Google Adwords and other services, to get messages onto the sites where potential members spend their time.
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