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Last updated at 10:16 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Social notworking

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Mark Shea explains the origin, meaning and use of the expression 'social notworking'. Click below to listen:

A girl at a computer

Social notworking

If you want to be successful in business, I’m told that it’s very important to make a lot of effort to meet new people, to socialise and create a network of useful contacts which you can then exploit to advance your career. You meet and make friends with people who might be able to help you later on in your professional life. This is called social networking, and it was one of the buzzwords in business in the 1980s and 90s.

Well, with new technology come new words. After social networking, we now have social NOTworking. Increasingly, people are meeting other people online using websites that intended to make social networking easier. These sites, things like MySpace, Facebook,
Bebo, LinkedIn, Twitter and others – have become incredibly popular. Most people use them as a way of chatting with their friends, and sharing photographs and information about social events – parties, birthdays etc. Some people are even using them to provide regular updates about what they’re doing, often many times each hour. Well, when you do this at work, instead of the many things you should be doing, it’s not social networking, it’s social NOTworking.

If you’re one of those people that use these sites a lot, it can be very tempting to check what your friends are doing tonight while nobody else is in the office, or to see if your friend has put those photos from the last trip you took together on the site yet. It might only take a second … and no-one will ever know. My advice is to check your company’s internet policy and to think about your boss’s attitude before you log in to your favourite site – some employers take a very dim view about social NOTworking!

About Mark Shea

Mark Shea

Mark Shea has been a teacher and teacher trainer for eighteen years. He has taught English and trained teachers extensively in Asia and South America, and is a qualified examiner for the University of Cambridge oral examinations. He is currently working with journalists at the World Service and is the author of the BBC College of Journalism's online English tutor.