To Social or Not to Social? That is the Question


A millennial computer scientist writing in in The New York Times advises more people to quit social media before it hurts their careers. Cal Newport offers several reasons for his opinion.

First, he points out that keeping social media accounts current and relevant can take an inordinate amount of time, whether that means reposting a viral article or coming up with a clever new hashtag. Becoming part of this never-ending cycle of posting and reposting takes time away from the real way to grow a career—by achieving excellence, Newport says.

Next he shoots down the argument that social media networks are a necessary part of today’s workplace because they can give rise to new opportunities. Newport argues that becoming an expert at what you do leads to opportunities, not networking relentlessly.

Finally, Newport points to the addictive nature of social media as the root of distraction, which takes away from producing good work.

Not long after Newport’s column ran, the director of digital communications and social media at the job site Monster wrote a response advocating social media as a necessary tool for careers. Patrick Gillooly notes that the platforms themselves have created millions of jobs in the emerging field of social media management. Moreover, he says that employers want to see job applicants’ social media sites, and therefore they can be an excellent way to extend an individual’s résumé. What’s more important, Gillooly adds, is that being invisible on social media could raise a red flag to a future employer.

Gillooly says social platforms provide a great way to learn about a field. Ignoring what’s being said on social media is to be excluded from relevant discussions. However, he advises using social platforms “thoughtfully and deliberately.”


  1. What can you do now to take Gillooly’s advice and build a meaningful social media presence that will help advance your career?
  1. How can you heed Newport’s advice and create work product that is your best advertisement of your skills and readiness for the workplace?
  1. In which ways can you prevent social media from becoming a “black hole” for your time?


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