Social Enterprise

10 reasons NOT to block social networking at work

Jack Wallen says employees should have access to social networking sites at work. Do you agree with his reasoning?

Holiday rerun: Has your company softened its stance on access to social networking sites or does it still enforce restrictions? Here are some arguments worth revisiting.

I get it... You're completely convinced that allowing your employees to get on Facebook and Twitter would pull the rug out from under your bottom line. Because of that, you block chat, tweets, and all other social networking to make sure your workers are doing only what you pay them for. I am here, however, to suggest that there can be a backlash from that approach. Social networking can actually help you in the long run, and I want to try to open your eyes to this fact. In the end, of course, it's your business and your call. But let's see if you can be swayed.

1: Morale

Back in the '90s, people wanted to be hired by companies that were cool to work for. And when the employees actually enjoyed working for a company, they did their best work. Morale is a huge aspect of the business world, but few owners and managers seem to get it. Low morale among the workers breeds contempt, and contempt breeds disloyalty. Disloyalty, as you know, breeds attrition.

2: Reputation

Your reputation is everything in business. And in this day of instant gratification and notification, finding yourself with a reputation going down the drain is little more than a disgruntled employee away. That does not mean you must cater to every whim and folly of your employees. But giving them tiny crumbs (like social media access) will go a long way toward keeping your reputation healthy.

3: Communication

Communication -- whether it's internal or external -- is key to business success. One of the fastest means of communication today is social networking. In fact, it's just about the most immediate form of communication you can find. Your employees may be communicating with the outside world, but many of those people on the outside are consumers and possible clients.

4: Advertising

Dare I say "free advertising"? I dare and I do. Social networking brings to businesses a boon of free advertising. You can't afford not to hop onto this bandwagon. And getting on board early shows the public that you are an agile, aware company. Allowing your employees to take advantage of social networking also shows you care about them. In this society, caring goes a long way. All of that makes for some seriously powerful advertising.

5: Collaboration

Social networking facilitates collaboration internally, but it also lets users collaborate with the entire world. I have done this countless times. When I've been stuck on an idea, I call out to my followers on Twitter or Facebook to get a deluge of answers. It's free and it's fast.

6: Social research

You need your finger on the pulse of society. You can get this with your employees on social networking sites. In fact, you'll have instant access to the court of public opinion even as it evolves in front of you. This is another (free) way to expand your company's reach.

7: Skill building

Your company and its employees need to know how to use social networking effectively. Why? Because our society is on a collision course with an even further embedding of social media into our lives. You want your company and your employees at the forefront of that trend. At some point, your employees may have to use social networking to market and sell your product. Allowing them to use it on a daily basis now will ensure that they're social media savvy, without the need for training.

8: Transparency

The world wants transparency. We've seen it from every level of business and government. Allowing your employees to participate in social networking illustrates to your employees' social circle that you mean business when it comes to employee retention and happiness. Today's consumers and society eat that up. But if they see a company deliberately squelching the employee voice and hiding behind the walls of security and information blocking, there will be a backlash. Transparency can go a long way toward boosting customer loyalty as well as your customers' faith in you as a business within the community.

9: PR

Blocking social media may unleash PR problems. The effects of blocking social media will trickle down to the public -- quickly. And although you might not think so, this can quickly snowball into a PR nightmare, especially as more and more young employees -- who depend upon social networking -- join the workforce.

10: Networking

You want your company to network. You want your employees to network. You want your employees to know what other companies are doing and to be in touch with the heartbeat of your market. What better way to accomplish this than with social networking? Yes, they can network with email, but not on as grand a scale.

Worth a try?

For most managers and executives, the bottom line will yank the rug out from under these reasons. But times are changing and it's certainly best to keep up rather than scramble to bridge gaps and fill holes. I would highly recommend allowing social networking in your company -- even if only experimentally. See how it affects performance and morale and then decide whether it's a perk worth keeping.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

77 comments
williama.willis
williama.willis

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PGS-AU
PGS-AU

Kidding, right? I have a young fellow working (ok, occasionally working) in my section who, out of an 8 hour day, might do 3 hours work. The rest of the time is spent on his phone updating facecrook. Personally, I'd like to install a signal jammer for mobiles here also. FB, ebay, twitter, etc are blocked at the server.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Many of my IT counterparts in my company and other organizations are the reason the company blocks many social networking sites. There are times when they behave like overzealous centurions and advise higher-ups to block these sites. Fortunately, some senior management types at work have requested to unblock the more popular sites. I have found some organizations blocking cloud sites. I get messages from users at these places because they cannot access a file from my site (linked to a cloud service). Their IT geeks will unblock long enough for them to download the document then block it again. I think they confuse the cloud with bit torrents. Or maybe they're just control freaks.

kktm
kktm

Sounds like the green light to mess around all day and not do any company related real work. If everyone did this in the name of marketing what a joke company you would be. Absolute waste of company time not to mention the security risk and words being being fixed in stone that could damage the company. Good try.

captainanalog
captainanalog

allow social networking. Everyone knows that networking and having all those "friends" is more important than having ability, loyalty, intelligence and a strong work ethic.

Ben_in_CA
Ben_in_CA

I must say, I thought of the big companies like Apple (and even Google) when I heard "transparency". Like the transparent iPhone pre-launches? People might like transparency, but when you look at the numbers, Apple seems to be doing nicely "behind closed doors"... There is a time for security, too, and personally I'd prefer if all the folks at the bank weren't downloading Facebook widgets or visiting potentially malicious short URLs from Twitter... Should sales and marketing teams be using these means - yes, I think so - but not all employees during work hours on their work systems.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

All those points can be turned around by the same forces that you tout as reasons for allowing social media and turn it into a disaster. Waste of time Loss of company data Loss of reputation Legal issues Poor morale and so on.... The only good thing I can see is that you may get a jump on discovering bad actors so that you can deal with them.

Georgia Madman
Georgia Madman

Before my employer clamped down on unfettered Internet access, we monitored usage and discovered to our horror that 68% of traffic was to on-line dating sites. Our workforce is mostly married. So absolutely nothing good would come from unfettered access -- affairs and divorces hurt productivity and morale.

gcorbo
gcorbo

The comment I would make was already expressed nicely by LK04. For every positive point made by the author, there could (and often is) a negative side concerning social networking in places of business. Who wouldn't want networking from employees and the opportunity to bring new customers. Nice idea, but I read dozens of stories about employee misuse of social networking in the workplace, and have personally seen (in IT field) people waste an entire 8 hour workday with things such as Facebook. In fairness, I have seen this behavior also with non-social networking websites - such as personnel wasting hours at a time on ebay. People will likely learn all the aspects of social networking on their own, but if a company wants to invest a small amount of time training certain employees in SN - fine. But not to give all employees carte blanche to use it on a daily work basis. At this point in time, the negatives will outweigh any possible positives.

tony85
tony85

1 - leaking data - a data breach can cost large fines and loss of reputation. Some social networking sites have tortuous privacy settings that are continually changing. You talk of collaboration, but what if that is between two people dealing with sensitive information e.g. a person requiring care at home? 2 - malware - social networking is yet another entry point for malware. Made worse if you use HTTPS because that then bypasses UTM and other perimeter protection methods. 3 - reputation - feeling annoyed - well venting your frustrations immediately to social media is not going to enhance the reputation of you or your employer 4 - legal - social media is publishing, and thus liable to the laws of libel. Journalists are (or should be grounded) in at least the basic law around this; your average Facebook user is not. 5 - security - the more that is posted publicly, the more data can be joined up and build a picture of an organisation - thus aiding in social engineering attacks ... add 5 more of your own I hear all the arguments about it being great for publicity, but unless social media is totally different, consider the adage that applied up to now - "one dissatisified person tells 10 others; a happy person tells one". Thus negative information grows 10x faster and propagates 10x wider than positive information. Certainly when I look at comments on news articles, negative comments usually outweigh the positive comments significantly except for the occasional good news story (a rarity anyway). There are some business for which utilising social media to its fullest extent is a business benefit, but for many others, the risks outweigh the benefits. Back in the mid 1980s (circa 1986) I experimented with using a BBS to post common responses to technical support issues. (BBS were probably the first social media). However, in less than a month, it became clear that a limited number of individuals were using it to post personal attacks and so it was shut down. Social media is not the great panacea that will make all businesses greater

Clendanielc
Clendanielc

The number one reason I hear from companies that have very sensitive client data is that they do not allow social networking because of the fear of an employee leaking out client data through Twitter, Facebook, etc. They are afraid that Mary Anne from Customer Service will take a photo and post it to her Facebook account to steal a clients identity. Now Mary may be 67 years old but she is an avid Facebook user. She posts photos of her family, her pets, and even her art collection on Facebook daily. She always has scripture to quote daily for all her friends to see. However, don't let the perfect granny image fool you. She is secretly working with a network ring of hackers that steal people's identity and sell it for million of dollars each year. How else would could she afford a pre-owned 88' Buick LeSabre? It has dice hanging from the mirror so that right there is a dead give away. Do companies have a legitimate worry about employees stealing clients data? If I did that, I rather not be known, work from an outside source, and try to hack my way in.

franciscojanes
franciscojanes

With modern security solutions, it is possible to fine-tune who can access what and how. Allowing company-wide social network access could be a productivity threat, and this extends to using personal email services and other sites famous for everything except getting work done. As I have once heard..."when your employees are browsing away, they are stealing time and productivity from the company, and that is a crime". Would you accept your staff to go outside and speak on the mobile to their friends for 5 minutes every 20 minutes? The temptation to open that browser and get immersed within it will also affect internal communication: staff are there.....however they??re not "on".

coffeeshop
coffeeshop

This is one of those things which management needs to assess on a case-by-case basis. Like allowing employees to take 'extra' cigarette breaks, personal phone calls or go a few minutes extra at lunch, anything has the potential to affect the bottom line but employee morale has a huge value as well. Consider it as an advertising expense. We allow it here but there's a very clear 'social media' policy in place and, considering the alternatives, no employee in his or her right mind would argue that the policy is 'unfair'. Like previous writers have said, employees ARE being paid to work, and it's fine to monitor and adjust social media usage as necessary.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

Companies that block social sites make the false comparison of thinking if the employee were not on that site, then s/he would be doing actual work. The fact is that some employees actually work at work whereas others will spend their time on the social network or on-line perusing news sites or off-line reading the newspaper or off-line hanging at the coffee pot or just hanging out in other cubes annoying the folks who are trying to work. Same deal with managers. Some do their job and others waste their time blaming the wrong things and dealing with the wrong issues.

GlennHughes
GlennHughes

You can't get away from the use of personal devices whether it's a tablet or smart phone and the access they give to the Internet, SM, games etc. If someone is lazy or doesn't want to work they won't, either by playing on their iPad, BB etc. or drinking coffee, reading the paper or going to fictitious off site meetings. SM and mobile computing is not the root problem. Hire the right people in the first place including the line managers who should be addressing non performance of staff. Our organisation has set up a forum where our s/w engineers can develop their own apps and deploy to staff via an app store style platform. The response has only been positive from both the engineers and staff that download the apps. Not specific to SM but the point is we embrace new tech, behaviour and ways of working with the right level of controls for a corporate (e.g. Productivity, security etc.). It does motivate people and stimulates ideas and I'm working on a dedicated support service for this type of IT consumerisation. Again my management team are enthusiastically working on implementing this including coming up with a counter proposal resourced within the existing budget when the idea was nearly stopped due to financial pressures. Rather than reject this type of thing out of hand I recommend evaluating it to make an informed decision on whether all or some of it can add value to your business whatever it is. Hello Tomorrow!

billjacobus1
billjacobus1

Plenty of valid arguments here to keep SM off of corporate and SMB networks. The only problem is that you are fighting a tide of young people that have been raised with SM. It is the exact same thing as trying to keep tablets and iphones out of the enterprise. Frankly, I would rather have employees use SM on the company computers than to have the same communications taking place on their own devices. The complete untethering that is created because they are using their own devices gives employees the feeling that they can post whatever they want to social media sites (the boss/company sucks, etc.) . I can monitor the network and then send monthly departmental (targeted at the offending department) reminders concerning the acceptable use of SM and the consequences of violating the acceptable use policies laid out in the 'employee handbook'. Get used to it, it is the future. The day might come when employees choose an employer because they are "facebook and Twitter friendly". Remember the generation you will be dealing with. Even some of the Gen X crowd is dumb enough to post stuff like "the boss sucks" on their FB page. Imagine a younger generation that feels no need to modify the privacy settings on their SM apps, and looks at corporate data policies as intrusive and unwelcome. Brave new world, friends.

ManoaHI
ManoaHI

I used to work at a company that blocks almost everything. Internet mail was blocked, social media was blocked. We had our own IM service so employees and clients could send/receive business related messaging. But I also worked in a place where they blocked almost nothing. Employee activity is monitored, I was tasked to occasionally have a look at the logs. Generally there was a bit of Facebook, but not excessive. With around 1,000 employees well under a hundred messages. But that was only through our network. I could see a number of people typing into their phones in the break room.

garylavery
garylavery

Would you allow your clerks to spend 2 hours on the phone "socializing" in the name communication, networking, publicity, morale, reputation, etc.? Of course not. There is only 1 reason to allow social networking: business need. My salespeople legitimately have that need. The rest don't. Do they abuse it? Yes. But nothing's perfect. Jack: Try MBWA (a LOT) in a centralized organization (i.e. an office) that allows social networking. You'll have a new opinion VERY quickly.

VincenzoAI
VincenzoAI

I'm not going to launch a diatribe, just comment that I am amazed at the level of tyranny and lack of imagination that has been expressed here - thankfully balanced by some sane comment. For those that think that social media has no place in Healthcare: Can you show me a more cost effective way to get the word out about diabetes, smoking, alcohol abuse...etc etc? Sure, it is conceivable that someone who works in a health practice could potentially tweet patient information - never have heard of it happening - but that is an issue of core professionalism and no technology can be blamed for that. This also applies to all other areas in work-life. Instead of blanket punishing every employee for abusing work time try making an example of just the perpetrators through withdrawing privileges and foster a responsible culture.

n8rpot8r
n8rpot8r

I block this stuff for a living and I don't remember the last time I was on a network and pulled flow from their internet connection and facebook, youtube, twitter & some other time waster wasn't on the top ten list of things being done on the network. It's simple, if you want people to get their work done, then block the sites. If it creates a big backlash you can always do what I do... create a "party time" rule in the firewall and let them surf over their lunch hour. That way everyone wins. Just my humble opinion.

pgit
pgit

Turn on, tune in, and drop out. And may God help us.

johnnylately01
johnnylately01

Do you want your nurse or doctor to tweet "I can't believe Mr X tested positive for AIDS OMG!"? How about when the CIO and others in IT are sued and/or arrested for allowing nurses to update their Facebook when the patient monitors are left ignored? There are cases like that already because their organization thought one or more of the reasons in this article were valid. "Don't be a statistic" trumps all of the above rules.

dbc_techrepublic
dbc_techrepublic

I'm not really in agreement because a company wants to control the message sent to the outside world. Why don't expect all employees to have savvy marketing skills - why would we? That said every employee will simply reach for their phone if it is not available on the desktop. Keeping it off the desktop merely prevents them from copy/paste.

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

I think all the points are very valid. I work in a corporate environment, have work in small business and even owned a few myself. It is more about adequate management than over controlling adults. If the proper policies are in place, employees are educated and trained on all policies, have proper employer/employee communications and involvement, you have a higher morale and better commitment from the employee's also. If the policy says no personal social media on company computers is a no no during specific or all times, for specific positions, etc, then is management issue to have a proper relationship with their employee's that they have the ability to lead and management that environment, if can't they are not a good manager, and in my experiences, many are not. Now there may be some positions that take special considerations, but over all just out right blocking is not the proper work environment for any access, except to block potentially harmful sites from malware, etc. Except for having a policy that prevents discussions about an employer or work related content, no one has the right to barr anyone from being associated and using any media or saying what one wants without any repercussions in their private lives and/or on their own time using their own resources period.

WardChristman
WardChristman

1 - Referrals: Locating and retaining talent is typically paramount for any business and the best source of quality hires is via employee referrals... so the easiest way to do that is to have employees share your jobs via their social networks and refer their friends to your recruiters. 2 - Performance: if you hire professionals and treat them like school kids you deserve low morale and low performance. If your employees are performing their job and deliverying the results you expect in a professional way then who cares if they hang by the social water cooler more than you think they should. Besides, most people have FB and Twitter, IM etc. on their mobile phones, are you going to collect them in a bucket when they show up for work?

da philster
da philster

SN sites are just another electronic version of water cooler time- wasters. Businesses in the past did just fine without these supposed "rights". Time for a reality check.

Zolar
Zolar

Forgot to mention that employers soon won't be allowed to demand their employee's facebook or other social networking passwords as a condition of employment. So the employee will have total privacy and the employer cannot protect themselves. Simply this - block ALL internet access for regular employees. They don't need it to do their jobs.

Zolar
Zolar

There are far too many abuses when you allow employees access to social networking. Take for example a car dealer. The ladies and sales people get on social networking but the body shop mechanics aren't allowed equal time. This is blatant discrimination to say the least. Why should any employer allow a typical employee to be paid to skylark or even malinger while on the employer's dime? If I were a large employer I would most certainly block anything that had no direct relationship (in my SOLE opinion) to the employee's job. People are desperate for a job so the 'cool' company theory is out the door. They goof off and steal time from the company then there are at least 1,000 others who would gladly take the job and NOT violate or abuse the company policy nor waste the employer's time. You are paid to do your job, not promote anything. That job belongs to whomever the employer pays specifically to do that (marketing division and only things related to the company). Playing online games or gossiping about your sex life or other non business communication should be grounds for immediate (INSTANT) termination. Doing that is the exact same thing as stealing from the employer. How many of you would be happy if your local public servant (police, fire, trash man, etc) decided to take off sick while getting paid for it and go shopping or golfing or whatever especially when you needed them to do their jobs?? That is an abuse of the system and theft from the employer. The private sector is no different. Typically women are the ones in the position to seriously abuse the internet with social networking since most of them are at a computer terminal. Go ahead and allow them to use social networking and not allow others who do not have regular access to social networking to have the same time and access to the services and see if you don't open yourself up to lawsuits. And you should definitely be taken to the cleaners for discrimination. Best is to never allow an employee access to social networking unless your specific job entails ONLY social networking marketing and specific research. The above list the author posted for this thread is absurd. They want to justify outright theft by trying to rationalize employee abuses of their job. Only those whose jobs do not specifically require access to social networking will want that access. This is because they are dishonest and plain old thieves. That's a thought. Stealing internet from your employer should land the employee in jail just as if they stole money out of the account or register. Stealing is stealing and it is wrong.

davep.l
davep.l

We had a web appliance which was taken out to be upgraded. Unfortunately the new device proved to be a pain in the neck to configure and then kept locking up, and we got to the point where it had to go back to the maufacturer to be replaced. During this time we had to do without any content filtering. Absolute nightmare with employees diving onto SNsites all day and then complaining when I finally blocked them.

tommy
tommy

Maybe this is an exceptional company profile, but we deal with customer confidential and highly sensitive company confidential material on a daily basis. For security reasons alone, there's no way that I will allow access to these sorts of sites, any more then I allow access to hotmail, yahoo or any other non-corporate e-mail systems on the business network. I've got a completely segregated network that does allow access to everything for general surfing, including facebook etc., but permitting access to social media from the users desktop on the secure business network. No way! Not in this environment.

jasonemmg
jasonemmg

There is NO NEED for FB or any of these other distracting sites to be accessed from company computers period!! The work the company deals will never require any use of these sites!!! My opinion is that unless your are in a business that requires access to these various sites then NOT ON COMPANY EQUIPMENT or TIME ($$$). If it were possible I would jam employees phones (iphones,BB,etc.) from accessing these sites when within the walls of the office! If your on FB on your iphone,BB then you are not working when on the clock!!!!

drummerboy!
drummerboy!

Facebook is the "source of all evil" on the internet. All of the cute little add-ons that people add to their pages are rife with malicious code. To suggest that a business open their network to that kind of vulnerability is naive and irresponsible!

steve.rayner
steve.rayner

Being a healthcare provider we dont have advertising, marketing etc so why would I ever want to give my staff a "tool" which diverts them from my business. Bewteen 8 and 5 its my dollar they are spending and I choose NOT to spend it on "Social Network" sites. It seems to me that most of the proponents of this "must have" viewpoint are so far removed from the real world of public and private business that they have no idea of what it is like to run all or a part of a business. Lets face it we are (most of the world anyway) still in recessionary times and jobs are not plentiful so I dont even need to contemplate this to attract good applicants. If you think that sounds mercenary - it isnt - its just good business.

LK04
LK04

I could argue real life points against almost all the statements in the article. I've seen social media be a place for workers to trash their boss or co-workers b/c they are having a bad day. Totally unacceptable. If you want damaging marketing that will hurt a company's image - this is the way to do it. If anything, allow workers to do their "social thing" on their breaks only. FaceBooking through the day or sending tweets is a distraction and I've seen it have a negative impact on workplace productivity. Also, txting is tricky as many parents have to stay in touch with babysitters, their kids etc. and in today's world that is important - I understand. But it should not be used for much else. Unless it's their job to use social media tools, then you don't have to worry about whether they are social savvy or not. If it's part of their job then that's another story and guidelines should be set and reinforced.

VincenzoAI
VincenzoAI

Not all solutions, policies or 'freedoms' will suit all. I wouldn't want a bulldozer driver being distracted by IM conversations. However - employers sometimes forget that worktime is also the employee's time and that they have chosen to be there. As the social space expands employers that do not actively hobble their staff will be more sought after and the workers will be happier. Benefits will flow - maybe not immediately enough for some 'Bosses' - and my workplace is a practical example of that. I won't go into specifics but the place I choose to work for realised the benefits of having a 'social savvy' workforce about a year ago. To the point of now actively initiating staff seminars to educate the old duffers like me! Not bad for an old school company 50 years old. Practical benefits have been re-establishing contacts with good past workers and recapturing their training and skills. Well, those that can use the social pages... the time that an employer begrudges for networking will bite them. Our younger staff know that work has to be completed and stay back to do so. For free, out of respect. The odd out-of-hours emergency has been promptly dealt with adding to kudos for the business. That is worth $$$ for tolerating the odd daily FB message. Those that 'get it' will survive the new competitive more easily.

Stovies
Stovies

Long before these silly sites, I was examining the progress of a project that was running behind schedule (by 18 months). They were only putting TAG spreadsheet data into a database for maintenance scheduling. I and two other people scrapped what had been done and started from scratch. In six weeks the maintenance program was on board the Oil Rig and being used by the engineers. What has this to do with social networking? Well when the computers they were using were examined they had over 10,000 number plates entries and were doing a bit of business on the side. None of those caught out raised one objection by quietly slithered away hoping their reputation would not follow them. Your item 10; I do not agree with an employee should not be giving any company information to employees of other companies. (You want your employees to know what other companies are doing and to be in touch with the heartbeat of your market. What better way to accomplish this than with social networking? Yes, they can network with email, but not on as grand a scale). I think it is obvious you have not been in any business that holds trade secrets that have been developed in-house, otherwise you would been singing from another songsheet. I don't often find myself hostile to most of what you write, but in this instance I would stay "stick to what you know." Don't change your day job!

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

allow those same employees to spend all day "around the water cooler"? How about leaving and hanging out at the local coffee shop to "socialize"? Social networking via Facebook, Twitter, whatever-comes-next should be on the employee time, not time I'm paying for! Allowances can be made for emergencies and such, but too many times "work" is ignored while that all-important text message MUST be replied to immediately!

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

"Social Media" sites are a malware/identity-theft/reputation-destruction super-highway. Allow access from company systems at your own peril.

RileyOneal
RileyOneal

I definitely think that it depends on the work environment. If you have a job that doesn't require you to be up to date and current with events and news then I would say social media should be limited to the lunchbreak. If you live and work in technology you know that staying up with the most current trends and information is a critical part of the job. I remember my boss saying to me, "you have to consider the place we work" social media is an important way to stay connected.

jmattor
jmattor

I can't seem to grasp how allowing my clerk in accounts payable to access Facebook will make her work harder or better. Especially when time sensitive tasks are at hand. Time management isn't one of her stronger traits and social networking would certainly distract her during office hours. Breaks and lunchtime - have at it, but not on the clock!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

While I was tempted to address multiple points, this is the one that really got my attention. I don't see how simply granting access will provide those skills. My Twitter experiences have shown that I haven't been able to get any value out of the service on my own. The web is full of anecdotal evidence of people regretting the personal information they inadvertently exposed on the web. Do you want them to use the same untrained behaviors in the company's name, with company information? Without training, those users could be more dangerous than helpful. The early poll results indicate I'm in the minority, but I still view social networking as business tools primarily for the HR and Marketing departments only. Most of the other advantages Jack mentions can be handled in house, on this side of the firewall.

scndtnr
scndtnr

I had trouble determining how I wanted to answer that second poll question. Do I think companies have the right to block access? Yes. Do I think that, in most cases, the benefits of allowing access, such as they are, would outweigh the risks? Absolutely. Do I think that blocking access (or allowing it, for that matter) is a moral issue? No, I don't. Were you really trying to determine right vs. wrong with this question?

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