Over the years, we have posted a lot about self-branding, the importance of interpersonal communication (especially TALKING!), and similar topics. Last month, we discussedMonotasking Vs. Multitasking,” concluding that monotasking is a lot more effective than multitasking — urban legends aside.

Today’s post focuses on a recent provocative article by Cal Newport for the New York Times, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It“:

“Many people should follow me and quit social media. There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness, but the argument I want to make is more pragmatic: You should quit social media because it can hurt your career.”

“First, interesting opportunities and useful connections are not as scarce as social media proponents claim. In my own professional life, as I improved my standing, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle. I currently have filters on my Web site aimed at reducing, not increasing, the number of offers and introductions I receive.”

“My second objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless. The ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is increasingly valuable in an complicated economy. Social media weaken this skill because they’re designed to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the hint of boredom.”

“Third, dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. The latter activity is seductive, especially for those raised on this message, but it can be disastrously counterproductive.”

Click the image to read more.

Image by David Saracino
Image by David Saracino


31 Replies to “Does Avid Social Media Use Harm Your Career?”

  1. I think it’s hard to define whether social media is good or bad. The key is how people use it. It could be a great self-branding tool if you can use it properly ( which means you’re able to make every of your post valuable without spending too much time on it. )But everything would be harmful if you addicted to it. It would occupy your family time or study time, makes you become vainglorious since your care too much about the comments under your post, what’s more, a lot of people lost their own judgment by believing the fake news from the social media.
    Anyway, it would be your own choice to make social media a helpful tool or make it a time thief, not the social media itself.

  2. I believe Cal’s claims on the effects of social media can have on a person are being approached from two different angles. Without a doubt anyone who uses social media can admit it is a distraction. When preforming a not so desirable task the need to check social media could kick in during each second of boredom a person experiences. This obviously is not helpful when trying to get work done. However, at the same time social media can be used as a great self-marketing tool. Social media is a great way to represent yourself to people who may matter to you in the future, such as future employers. On top of your work experience, college GPA, and letter of recommendation companies do care what type of person you are. Instead of them trying to figure that out in one short interview, social media could help them do that. I would consider it as an extension of your resume.

  3. Social Media is becoming more rampant among people in society, most notably the millennial generation. People feel that these connections on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are helpful for networking. However, this post argues that social media may deter the individual from producing actual substantial work that benefits themselves and society for the good. While pictures and posts are great, one should seek to lessen the social media usage and look to create pieces of work that will further them professionally.

  4. While I immensely appreciate the abilities that the existence of social media has granted to my generation, I can’t help but resent it for the destruction it has also caused. People my age have grown up with the ability to post their daily lives on the internet which seemed harmless at the time but could now be detrimental to our professional lives. At a young age, my peers and I did not realize that what we put onto the internet would stay there forever and be available for important people in our future lives to come across. This makes me believe that in many cases, the damage is already done in terms of social media usage. You can stop now, but you can’t take back what you’ve released in the past.

  5. Personally, I think it’s hard to say if social media is either good or bad. There are good and bad aspects of social media. And it also depends how people use it. Firstly, social media is good because it allows you to connect with people (as Facebook was made for). I made me mom a Facebook about a year ago and she has reconnected with people she hasn’t seen in 20+ years. (And yes, she then saw them in person because of social media. If it wasn’t for Facebook she probably wouldn’t have seen them.) Twitter was originally made as a news outlet and to let people know what others are doing. I have found out some of the most breaking news through Twitter. I find both of these social media platforms very useful in this sense. However, social media can also be bad. People can misuse social media. Anything that is posted is out there on the internet forever. So people have to be careful what they post. Also, people can become too consumed with social media.

    With all that being said, I think social media CAN harm your career. But I do not think AVID use can harm your career is you’re SMART about it. I have seen articles where people have posted things on Facebook that lead to them getting fired. Now, that could have been avoided if that person was smart about what they post on social media. Also, you can’t be on your phone all day at work on Facebook or snapchat. You have to be working. Again, that is someone that is focused with their work. I think it all really comes down to the person.

  6. Social media has become a very important subject when it comes to your career. I agree that social media can be a distraction but it can also be a good thing. The number one thing to keep in mind is to not put anything online that you do not want your future employers to see. However if you use social media correctly you should not have any fears. Social media can even be an addition to your resume because if your future employer sees you doing everything you stated in your resume then it serves as a validation. I believe social media has become an important part of our lives and many people are very dependent on it. However, it can be used to your advantage and not just as a distraction.

  7. I think this article is very valuable. Today, attention has become one of the most precious things of people. Our attention is limited, when we pay more attention on one thing, we’ll pay less attention on the other things. The Internet has changed people’s living habit. More and more people are addicted to using social media. A lot of information on the social media is fragmental and worthless. Paying too much attention on those worthless information is a waste of time. People should use social media as a tool to do some meaningful things. I also agree with the point that when you become more valuable, good things will find you. Hence, people should not afraid been forgotten by the world if they don’t use social media, if they are valuable enough, other people will find them no matter whether they use social media.

  8. For future potential marketers, maybe us, we have to use social media to inevitable build our network. But as this article says that engaging social media would be harmful for us. Well, I think that social media is good for us to develop potential customers when we engage the marketing career. People will be bored with the ads that marketers put on the social media, but this is the exact way for marketers to do promotion activities to attract customers. We can see that both of these social media platforms are very useful in this sense. This is the inevitable trend that we can not avoid.

  9. Actually, I totally agree with the author. Social media have the ability to get more opportunities and learn something new, but it is not so important as we always think. In contrary, it disturbs me when I want to focus on my work since there always be lots of messages in social media. Besides, the messages in Social media are too much that I can not stop myself to scanning the messages, it really waste so many time. Compared to involved in social media, what is more important for us is to improve our skills, that is the key point that help the career.

  10. I am not surprised that Cal thinks social media is harming our professional lives instead of helping. We rely to much on social media to tell people who we are and what we are about that we have lost all ability to do it ourselves. In my opinion the most important point mentioned in the article is how much of a distraction it is and how that will weaken work habits because how are you suppose to get something done if your already thinking about the next time your going to post.

  11. Social media definitely plays a huge role in the job hiring process. Although we would like to think our social media presence doesn’t interfere with our work life it does. Social media puts us on display at all times and allows our boss and coworkers to see another side of us. Although it could be used properly as a self branding tool, there is also a potential for it to go wrong and unveil a side of us that we wouldn’t ideally want our employers to see. I agree with the author of this article and believe the information presented is accurate and helpful.

  12. To be honest, I once had that problem as well. Since I figured out human resource employees will investigate me through at least three social media platforms, I was overwhelmed for I have to get used to all these new platforms and build my pages, blogs and websites at one time! I was not enjoy so much with social media.

    However, I attended one event hold by nywici and one of the professionals told me that one of her friends positioned as a CMO of social media and she has none of these social media account and suggested me do essential one and find what I really want. If I am searching for job, than, LinkedIn page is enough and if I want to more, better build a personal website instead of build each single social media platforms. Besides, one is able to transfer all followers from one social media platform to another social media platform if I want to do it later.

    It was so helpful and now I have several accounts but only one I am using, which is a Facebook account.

  13. I completely agree with the author here. Social media is becoming the most prevalent key in doing searches on people. I know that we have all searched someone on Facebook or instagram, so we must be aware that executive will do that as well if you are applying for a job. Social media could definitely be utilized as a self-branding tool, as it is an easy way for others (especially firms) to see who you are. However, it should therefore be used in a way that makes a person look like a valuable asset. It is also easy to get addicted to, so people should refrain from overusing it. Social media is intended for people to share their lives in the fiber world, and the way they portray themselves will be the way others perceive them. Therefore, it could be a useful tool, however it has the potential of being dangerous as well.

  14. Web-based social networking is turning out to be more wild among individuals in the public arena, most remarkably the millennial era. Individuals feel that these social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and are useful for systems administration. In any case, this post contends that online networking may hinder the person from creating real generous work that advantages themselves and society for the great. While pictures and posts are incredible, one ought to try to diminish the web-based social networking use and hope to make bits of work that will encourage them in their professional lives.

  15. I believe that social media is something that has to have its limits on a person’s daily usage. Social media has become such a big part of our society that its hard to stay away from it. Lots of people find it necessary to post everything that is happening in their lives minute by minute. Some of this information can be inappropriate to share to the entire world. Social media has its benefits, and that is what I believe people should focus on. Keeping in touch with people, and learning about new places is something that social media is a great use for. That being said, with a good limit on what is posted on your social media, I don’ t think it should affect your career. When there is inappropriate content being posted, that is when there can be affects on your career.

  16. I agree with Newport for the most part. Social media can hurt your career but if you are careful and have an appropriate social media presence you shouldn’t have a problem. I definitely do not agree with his view that social media “diverts your time and attention away from things that matter”. What if you’re a lifestyle blogger? Wouldn’t posting things about yourself online be the way you make your living?

  17. Can’t agree more with “As you become more valuable to the marketplace, good things will find you.” I was struggling that should I run and manage my social accounts as a marketer. Everybody told me that I should brand myself. But as far as I’m concerned, sometimes social media accounts make me distracted. You go out for a travel, enjoy the dinner, go to the events…all because I super enjoy my life, but not because I need to take pics to get likes and comments. I’m not running my accounts not means I’m not good at marketing.

  18. I am very up in the air about social media crossing over with work. I feel like there should be a line between work and play. Yes, social media is meant to be distracting, but there are ways around that. Many offices and schools have the ability to block a server on the computers or if you’re connected to that areas wifi (i.e. Hofstra has tinder blocked), if there is that much concern that social media will divert peoples attention from work, make it so that it is not accessible. Social media is definitely an outlet to network, but it shouldnt be the only outlet. I don’t think people should get rid of their social media

  19. I agree with Dr. Newport on the basis that Social Media is by its very nature, designed to act as a drug that can get people away from their stressful/boring lives and into another medium through which they can receive a type of unbridled stimulation. However, one can argue that the Internet by its very nature, also performs the same function. One of my good friends is involved in real estate and he told me that over the past few years, clients and customers have become less patient and more demanding, sometimes unreasonably so. With the advent of apps and websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, the costumer has the power to really make or break a business because they have a medium through which they can voice their opinions. Sometimes this is a good thing because businesses can see what they need to work on, but this can also give customers wildly high expectations for businesses. Another website that’s been a game changer is Amazon.com, where consumers can get same day delivery on select items. Therefore, I would argue that an impatient, self centered culture that allows people to seek instant self gratification, was not only fostered by social media, but also by several services and sites on the Internet.

  20. It’s really hard to determine whether social media is good or bad because it depends on how it is used. I do agree that social media can harm your career if you’re using it in inappropriate ways, but if it’s used in an appropriate manner, it shouldn’t be an issue. Social media is good in the way that it allows people to connect with one another no matter where they are in the world. When it comes to content, it’s really up to the user’s judgements as to what they should and shouldn’t post. I also agree that social media is highly addictive. I myself find that I check my social media accounts countless times throughout the day and it can be very distracting while doing work.

  21. Social media could be a very positive thing if used correctly. However, many people overuse it, post inappropriate material, and are basically obsessed. People can connect with one another across the globe in the matter of milliseconds. While I consider myself somebody who uses social media in an appropriate matter, I can use it too often. Sometimes, it could be very distracting and I have to physically put my iPhone zipped up in my bag so I do not get distracted at work or while in class. Managing how much time we spend on social media, and what content we choose to post are ways we can use social media to our advantage.

  22. Actually, I am not a fan of social media, most of the time, I use social media as a communication tool. But a qualified marketer should use social media much as a marketing tool. In my point of view, social media can be very helpful for your career, but if too much into social media might hurt your career. First, It is not good for you to spend too much time and energy on social media. Second, there are variety information online that you can’t tell which is true which is not, so you will be so easy to lose in the pool of information.

  23. Overspending time on social media is not good, that is the reason why we need to balance our time. If you want brand yourself or marketing yourself, you have to do related things about your career or concern. For example, I love fashion, and i am managing a fashion Instagram account posting related daily looking and how to make your outfit better. Later if i hunting for a job related to fashion industry, i can say that i have fashion marketing social media experience which will be really helpful. Your efforts will never be waste, but you need to find out what really matters to you.

  24. I don’t believe that social media is inherently good or bad, I believe it depends on how you choose to use it. If someone is constantly posting negative posts on their social media, bashing other people, their jobs, or just posting pictures that are unprofessional and promiscuous, then having social media can in fact be cause of them to lose their jobs. However, if your social media conveys positive messages, is seemingly professional, and does not promote anything you would not want a future employer (or family) to see, then social media should not hinder you, but rather provide you with opportunities. While it may be overwhelming with all the opportunities found on the internet, it is up to the individual to find something that will fit them well.

  25. I have to admit that using social media takes some of my time. It’s distractive and addictive. But I think if a person can have self-awareness and have a good self-control. Then social media will not be a problem. Building connections through social media is still important, especially for young people who do not have enough network and contacts. Blog is also a kind of social media. Although wring a professional blog is a time-consuming thing, it offers me the opportunity to search more information and push myself to think deeper about the knowledge I learned, which I think, will benefit my career not harm it.

  26. The focus of the business should be the “products or services” that it provides. Social media is just a tool to show more details of your products and to communicate with your prospects and consumers. Hence, marketers should not pay more attention to the patterns than the contents. This article also explains why companies should not use all of the social media platforms, even though social media could help them gain more awareness and learn the needs of the consumers. If companies use too many social media platforms, they will be distracted by them, and could not put its focus on the nature of the products.

  27. I am guilty of spending too much time on social media. I agree that it is destructive to peoples’ social skills but it doesn’t teach you how to communicate in person with someone else. I work in retail and am talking to my coworkers and customers on a daily basis. I love being able to talk with people and play off of their reactions and responses. It is my break from the social media internet world and it is something I will always highlight in any interview. I have the social skills to go along with my business experience. My social media network will remain important to me and important for me to keep up, but I will also always work on my interpersonal skills to make sure that I would function well in an office setting.

  28. I as someone who loves social media, I personally use it to advance my self-brand. I am extremely careful of what I post and how it can be perceived by other. But I also believe there is a balance between social media and every day life. When I am in my place of work I usually put my phone on air plane mode so I am not tempted to look at email or who posted a photo on Instagram. This allows me not to get “bored” and need “constant stimulation”. When used correctly social media can advance you rather than hinder you.

  29. This post is extremely interesting to me because as much as I hate to admit it, I am addicted to my phone and social media. There isn’t a time in the day that I’m not on my phone or checking social media, except for when I’m sleeping. It’s interesting to see that being so addicted to social media can actually harm people’s professional lives. As much as I hate to admit it, I realize why it can do so because being so connected to a phone constantly, affects your relationships with those physically around you.

  30. I definitely believe that when it comes to certain jobs social media usage is a must, but I can guarantee that it will only hurt those who have jobs that expect their workers to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Social media can be a great influencer in how employers choose who they want to work for their companies. It all depends on what is being posted by potential employees. Although i believe that social media is a very personal platform (showcasing our daily lives) that shouldn’t be looked upon, there are many instances that explain why it is necessary to be monitored. For instance if an employee makes a racist remark it can seem as if a company shares those same beliefs.

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