Twitter in the Workplace: Help or Hindrance?

2473728872_bc7c80cdb3_m.jpgDoes Twitter have a place in the office? Or it is just an amusing time-waster?

We've all heard the ominous warnings that our online habits are sucking the productivity out of our worklives, and that social-networking tools like Twitter are the equivalent of electronic black holes.

But you'll find plenty of people arguing the opposite: that a microblogging option like Twitter can lead to improved communication (heck, it might even replace e-mail!) and better productivity. And that it actually makes business sense to use Twitter.

And you know what? I think those Twitter fans are right.

Writing lengthy e-mails that no one will read is definitely a waste of your time. But sending out a quick "tweet" to let your team know that the meeting is in 15 minutes, or that you need the new report pronto, or that you're back from lunch, makes sense.

Twitter can help you connect with customers, co-workers or virtual offices and can promote collaboration and business networking. It's an incredibly effective avenue for disseminating fast-breaking information; just look at how Twitter got the word out in Los Angeles when a recent earthquake hit and the phone lines were jammed. Heck, it can even get you out of jail.

For those concerned with security, Yammer -- termed "Twitter for the enterprise" by some -- is a similar option.

I don't Twitter all that much at the moment, but I think I just might start.

What's your take?

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(image by Phillie Casablanca via Flickr, CC 2.0)