Facebook and Google, threats to the established society and Sweden’s workforce?

Facebook has become a modern concern in workforces around the globe as people has begun alternating their work behavior and time to include social media activities like networking and updating of statuses online. In analyzing the case of Sweden regarding this phenomenon, it is debatable in the media (DI, DN, Aftonbladet etc.) if the country will survive the transition in workforce generations that is knocking on the door, at least if one are to believe the critics. Compiled statistics propose that; 35-54 year olds is the fastest growing user group on Facebook, with a 276.4% growth rate over the 6 lasts months 09/10. Furthermore, the 25-34 year population on Facebook is doubling every 6 months, and the largest demographic concentration is the college crowd of 18-24 year olds (40.8%). This showing the fact that Facebook has a young crowd.

It is even argued that people spend three more times on Facebook than they do on Google (another debated forum), with users in the workforce segment spending an average of 4 hours, 39 minutes on Facebook per month, whereas about 30 minutes during work hours. And this is where the problem starts, that people socialize on worktime. The conservative party obviously finds this as very costly and time lagging in production, whilst the pro-social media advocates of course sees these forums as great asset or tool. To reinvigorate this even further, this poses an even greater problem for Sweden which, with an aging non-dense-Facebook-user society in the retirement segment will give way for the very dense young-Facebook user segment.

With this aging population, SCB (statistics bureau of Sweden) denotes that 20 percent up to 1/3 of all personnel will enter retirement between 2011-2021 in Sweden. That is people currently in the ages of 55-65, using Facebook if one compares it to average user frequency on Facebook about 1/5 (6 minutes) of the woktime, compared to nearly 30 minutes for a regular user (18-54).

With the transition, and a retirement rate of 33% this gives an astonishing shift of traditional working time and modern Facebook-working time, of +23% more minutes on average per month, or ca 44 sec/day*. This is indeed perceived as a threat to companies as, at least world-wide, they have had their IT departments increasingly blocking Facebook and similar sites because of the damage that may be caused both internally and externally from them. And remember, that this is internationally, where the transition shift in the workforce is less severe than the case of Sweden.

With this being said, it’s like a modern David vs. Goliat scenario, or Google vs. China perhaps, where two sides have conflicting ideas and one is trying to hinder the other, without explicit proof of what the actual threat of the service really is. We have not seen the end of this battle, and from a youth perspective one would argue that it naturally would be more efficient to educate elders in broadband advantages, social media and efficacy in the workplace rather than have them spend time and resources on preventing a threat that’s not yet even defined, even less a real problem by evidence.

Who’s right or who’s wrong in all of this is for you to decide…but would it not be a disaster if the faculty members of SSE (Handelshögskolan) on average spent 44 sec more per day on Facebook?

// Micke

* The calculations are generalized; nonetheless they prove an indication for the average increase.

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This entry was posted in Communication, Management, Marketing, Social Media, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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