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    Posted on 02 January 2012
    OPINION  

    Q & A: The pervasive influence of social media

    FW talks to two psychiatrists on social media's impact on the workplace impact on the workplace and relationships

    Dr Rahul Chandhok

    Dr Rahul Chandhok



    Dr Samir Parikh

    Dr Samir Parikh

    What according to you is the impact of social media on the workplace?
    Dr Rahul Chandhok: In any workplace, there are groups, there are friendship groups, there are professional groups, people do get together. You see another point is there, in social media, everything gets published.

    Nobody usually wishes to have their name associated with anything they are saying. Its basically gossip, and you know gossip is never written. Anybody who would like to say something would not like it to be put on his or her account.

    There are various reasons why somebody adds you to their facebook profile. Sometimes, people just wish to keep contacts. It’s fairly easy to keep it on a social networking site.

    They might be getting along with a very few of them on a day to day basis, but if they want to just stay in touch with a large group of people, then things like facebook, professionally- Linkedin, and twitter come into play. It is not that they will be interacting on a day to day basis, but, to keep up a social image.

    Suppose somebody has to look for information, then, this social networking comes into play.

    Dr Samir Parikh: There are two ways to look at it. Firstly, I don’t think we can make a generic comment to say what has been the kind of impact. The right way to look at this would be for those whose benefit it happens. People have a full day, very hectic routine, lot of work pressure and pressures of other kinds.

    So, when these people are otherwise involved in work, they’re so busy that they seem to be almost cut off from people. And because they are cut off from people, so when they stay connected through their social networks, it helps them in relaxing, in feeling better.

    And their work efficiency can actually improve because they feel that whenever there is a bit of work pressure they can release it or share it with somebody. Obviously, if you stay connected with your family, friends on social networks then you won’t feel isolated, you don’t feel by yourself and it obviously helps you.

    Hindrances occur when people misuse it, wherein they use social networks to vent their anger on somebody or to try and become a voyeur. Or they get so over indulgent with the internet that it takes them away from their routine. So it depends on how a person takes it.

    Recently, in numerous instances, where people uploaded or wrote something on their social networking sites which was against their workplace, they were fired. Is that a sign of times to come?
    Dr Rahul Chandhok: Every office workplace demands a certain discipline. They cannot work without that. Anything which leads to a breakdown of that discipline, naturally, is going to ask for the repercussions.

    It’s not that nothing is private now. If you’re not careful enough what to say and where to say and then some action takes place and you crib about it, it’s not fair.

    You have to be careful. Companies have shifted the responsibility towards your end, rather than their end. They are basically reacting to something you did. If you would have been careful, nothing would have happened. Its like, nobody likes their own boss, but to put it in writing is a different matter altogether. You have to work with your boss. If you have the guts to say something on the back and nothing gets done then it breaks the discipline of the institution.

    Dr Samir Parikh: That’s taking it too far. If you utilize it, networks help in staying socially connected. If you take that much advantage, it’s good. It’s of no help if you take it further.

    Dr Rahul Chandhok is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist in Fortis Hospital, Batra Hospital & QRG Central Hospital.

    Dr Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist, Chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare.


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    Posted on 02 January 2012
 

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