Posts Tagged ‘social media and work’

Banning social media sites for employees – how smart is that?

November 19, 2009 1 comment

Over half of U.S. workplaces are banning social media networks for their employees. Most companies fear that interacting on social media networks might distract employees to do the “real” work. The question remains how important sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are for the exchange of useful ideas, thoughts and knowledge in the Web 2.0 era. So what is the real power of social media?

According to Nielsen Wire, two thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites:

  • Facebook currently has more than 300 million active users, 50% of which log onto Facebook in any given day. The fastest growing demographic is 35 years and older.
  • LinkedIn, considered a professional networking site, has 45 million users representing 150 industries around the world.
  • Microblogging site Twitter’s largest user group are adults 35-49. In May 2009, it had 18.2 million unique visitors with the lowest retention rate of all sites mentioned, but the fastest-growing percentage points of all networks.

Countless books have been written on the power of social media. P&G run a test in March 2009, where social media experts, digital masterminds, and experienced interactive marketers created a scenario that generated 1,200 hits for a site within 60 minutes: P&G Tests the Power of Social Media

And we, the “young folks”, would virtually not exist without a Facebook profile (and probably miss a lot of very important things). Traci Armstrong talks about the benefits for employers when Facebook access is granted to employees: Give Employees Facebook Time

Through being part of social media networks we communicate today. Plus, given the information stream available, social networks provide information and educate us all. Rather than being afraid that employees are distracted, companies cannot ignore the power of social media networks as information providers and revenue generators anymore.

Remember the times when we ran into a problem at work and the only way to fix it was to ask a colleague (btw, how did we manage to be successful back then?). Well today, you can ask a colleague and the Internet. So banning social media is counterproductive – companies might as well ban the whole Internet. And that’s too outdated to even talk about.