Social Media Straining Productivity in the U.S. Workplace

Social media sites such as Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) were favorites of candidate Donald Trump during the race for the White House.

Now, President Trump uses his Twitter feed to sound off on a host of issues. That includes today’s rebuke of department store retailer Nordstrom (JWN).

In a tweet sent early this morning, he said it’s “terrible” that the retailer will no longer carry First Daughter Ivanka’s clothing line.

A few days ago, the company said it made this decision based on poor sales, and that it routinely cuts about 10% of the brands it carries each year.

Now, I don’t know about the merits of President Trump’s claim. Nor am I familiar enough with Ivanka’s brand and its relationship with Nordstrom to make a learned comment.

But it reminds me that, with some 300 million people worldwide who use Twitter, social media is becoming part of our daily routines or at least our daily vernacular. Even if we don’t use it regularly or at all, it’s still pretty hard to escape these days.

And with the president helping to set the precedent, it’s taking up more of our time because there is so much happening. But collectively, we’re not just catching up during lunch or evening hours.

Roughly 50% of people who sign up for Twitter never actually send a tweet, according to a study done a few years back. But a new study by a business software firm finds that people are increasingly using social media — not only for personal reasons, but also to get political.

This activity is increasingly seeping into their real-life offices … and employers may need to start taking note.

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According to an article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal:

Employees are spending a substantial chunk of their work hours reading, chatting and even clashing with their colleagues about politics.

That assessment is based on findings from a new poll by BetterWorks Systems Inc., which makes performance-management software.

The company polled some 500 full-time working adults from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, and found that nearly nine out of 10 (87%) are reading social-media posts about politics during the workday.

Per the WSJ:

More than a fifth read 20 or more posts. That adds up to an average of two hours a day spent talking or reading about politics, with 22% spending three or more hours each day on such activities, the poll shows.

If you ever wondered why productivity in the American workplace seems strained, one answer is likely social media.

Now, one thing to keep in mind here is that the BetterWorks survey period followed President Donald Trump’s first days in office. So naturally, this was a time of heightened interest in the new leader of the free world.

Still, the amount of time one spends on political social media tweets, posts and comments is probably not conducive to getting a specific job done.

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I realize people want to talk about President Trump and the changes taking place on so many political, economic and social fronts. After all, we write about those changes often at Uncommon Wisdom Daily.

We are always on the lookout for paradigm shifts like the uncharted waters we are in right this very moment. Like the fact that more people than ever are getting their news (and investing ideas) from social media. And, in some cases, making knee-jerk decisions because of it.

We want to make sure that our readers know the real (and really important) news … what to pay attention to (i.e., undervalued stocks and Exchange-Traded Funds with solid fundamentals) … and the stocks, sectors and ETFs that stand to benefit most in the coming days, weeks and months.  

Now, that doesn’t mean ignoring the headlines, because we know that President Trump’s tweets can move markets. Witness the immediate selling in stocks such as Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) following several Trump tweets.

BA and LMT are active recommendations in my Cash Flow Kings newsletter. And they serve as a great example of how we are figuring out this unusual world where news hits instantly and stocks sometimes seem like they can react … good or bad … even faster.

As for JWN, shares jumped more than 4% today. But rather than chasing random, one-off moves like that, I’m going to keep focusing my efforts on recommending … and sitting tight in … the best stocks I can find. And helping my readers do the same.

Heck, Wall Street might spend the most time watching headlines and social media. And when you see how stocks can surge or sink within seconds of a tweet from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I think our role here at Uncommon Wisdom Daily as a voice of market reason is more crucial than ever.  

The bottom line here is that heightened interest in the president and the new administration’s agenda is naturally going to be the topic of interest, conversation and even workplace web searches for some time.

And it is this new social paradigm — presidential tweets and all — that we must accept if we want to understand society … and the financial markets. 

If you could use even more help to get you through it, with specific and timely recommendations along with occasional comments during the trading day as needed, consider joining me at Cash Flow Kings today.

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If you would like to comment on this issue, or any of the issues we cover in the Afternoon Edition, all you have to do is leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.

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Stocks saw a mixed day on a mixed bag of earnings reports. The Nasdaq only gained 8 points (+0.2%) but it was enough to set another record.

  • Big techs saw a string of small gains. This after Apple (AAPL) hired the director of Amazon’s (AMZN) Fire TV division to head up its Apple TV unit. And Alphabet (GOOGL) announced a deal with Disney (DIS) to live-stream ESPN, ABC and other networks on Google’s YouTube. And DIS chief Bob Iger said he’s open to extending his tenure at the company beyond his planned 2018 exit date.
  • Theresa May got the OK from lawmakers to begin the Brexit process.
  • Oil gained 0.3% on short-covering. This after the U.S. Army Corps told Congress it intends to let the Dakota Access Pipeline project move forward, and also after the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report showed a large build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
  • Time to buy CRAP? At the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit today, FundStrat Global’s Tom Lee said this year his fund is buying Computers, Resources, American banks and Phone carriers. That’s because they are overlooked sectors that stand to benefit from deregulation. (Yahoo!)

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “Social Media Straining Productivity in the U.S. Workplace”

  1. HI Brad,

    Social Media is yet another phenomena that is blown way out of proportion. Sadly, for many, many, many people it is wasting precious time for them when they could be spending it with family, getting healthy, investing wisely etc..etc…Most people use it unfortunately as a gossip platform..TOTAL waste of time…I see that the trend is more and more people getting off of social media or reducing time on it and spending more time doing constructive and healthy things for them and their marriage and family!!

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