Research shows that company bosses like to use social networks at the same time as telling their staff to stop using them
Company bosses have been shown as somewhat “two-faced” in a new study about the way business people use social media. Company bosses have been shown to be avid users of social networks, whilst telling their staff to stop using them because they waste their time.
The bosses create a strange argument that what is good for them and the company is not necessarily good for the people who work at the firm.
But when you look more closely at the study you discover that it is all down to personality.
Bosses tend to be extroverted individuals. The problem with extroverts is their “reticular activation system” – a part of the brain which could be considered akin to a central telephone exchange, feeding signals in all sorts of directions. In extroverts this system is rather under-powered. It needs regular “kicks” to keep it going. Introverts, on the other hand have a reticular activation system that is all systems go and doesn’t need constant booting up.
But how does the system get its “kicks”? Stimulation from the outside world is what is necessary. That’s why extroverts behave they way they do. They are always “up front” because it produces constant amounts of stimulation from the world around them so their reticular activation system can keep going. Introverts do not need this amount of stimulation for their brain and so they don’t do many of the things that extroverts do, simply because their brain has no need for them to do this.
Social media helps extroverts
The world of social media was made for extroverts. They can post anything they like, whenever they like and get instant feedback – the stimulation they crave subconsciously to keep their reticular activation system fired up. Often, people wonder why some people appear to live their life online, using Facebook and Twitter to announce even the most mundane aspects of their daily life. Indeed, why did the UK comedian Jason Manford recently announce on Facebook that he had found a lump on his testicle before he had even made an appointment to see a doctor? Someone who is extroverted doesn’t always consider the impact of what they are doing on social networks, instead they are driven by the need for feedback to keep their brain working.
Company bosses also need stimulation to keep their brain in gear and so it is no surprise that they too use social networks personally. They also tend to work much longer hours than many of their staff and so can find the extra time at work to engage in social media activities – probably often when the staff have gone home.
So, you might not think your boss is using social networks because you don’t see much evidence of it during the day. But after you have gone home, they’ll still be in the office connecting with their friends. They need the stimulation this brings – stimulation they do not need so much in the day when they are surrounded by colleagues.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+