Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Half of Companies Blocking Facebook


Christy Tucker has been musing on Social Networking as LMS: Problems and Opportunities. One real problem is corporate fear of social networking tools.

This August 21 article posted by Sharon Gaudin in Information Week reports that Half of Companies are Blocking Facebook:
"Employers are increasingly blocking access to Facebook because they're concerned about the time wasted and the information leaked when workers use social networks on company time."
I'm no Facebook super-user and I haven't experienced a huge time suck from it, but I suppose it's possible. But what information is it that is actually being "leaked" through Facebook by these irresponsible employees ?

The article gives no specifics, making me wonder if the threat is real or just imagined by the corporate control freaks.

Update: Also be sure to check out this Facebook post over at the Read/Write Web that follows this same "study." I thought the comments were insightful. (Thanks to Jane Hart for pointing this one out.)

4 comments:

Rosetta Thurman said...

Cammy,

I'm just a "lite" Facebook user, but I have seen profile pages that list their workplaces with commentary about how horrible their company is, or how much they hate their job. So I'm not sure the issue is people leaking secret information, but maybe just companies afraid of being bad-mouthed. Interesting post!

Sue said...

i have just discovered the joys of facebook, and yes I confess to having used it at work, however I think that is the initial 'glow' one gets about these things. I suspect after the initial rosy flush of love, I will go back to suitably placing my addictions until after work.

Interestingly, a lot of my industry peers have started using it, and staying in touch with these people is actually considered to be a part of my job. In a sense, using facebook for this, is actually (to some extent) more efficient.

interesting post though

Christy Tucker said...

I think Rosetta's point is good; part of the fear is about people venting about their jobs. Overall though, I think that's a symptom of a general fear of not being able to control all the information about a company. Of course, no company can do so, but many of them still try. Look at all the companies that have been whitewashing their Wikipedia entries; it's a similar idea.

In the long run, the companies that accept that they can't control everything that's said about them will be better off. They'll figure out that transparency is beneficial, not detrimental. They'll understand that cultivating loyal users and employees by treating them right so that when they do talk about the company (which they will) they'll have nice things to say.

Cammy Bean said...

Rosetta...Thanks for chiming in! These are the issues that will crop up as we allow our public and our personal spaces intersect.

And if a company is getting bad-mouthed, then perhaps they should know it and address the underlying issue. If employees are bored, why?

People -- you gotta know who your friends are and watch what you say! My boss is a Facebook friend -- you can be sure I'm aware of every word I put in there....

Sue...I think all of us are beginning to discover the networking power of Facebook. It's a great place to connect with other professionals. (Now if I could just get someone to play Scrabble with me! Is that a time waster?)

Christy...be sure to check out the Read/Write Web article that I posted a link to in this original post (as an update). Many people are echoing what you say. And I'm in complete agreement. Happy employees are engaged with their jobs and well-balanced in their lives.

Forward-thinking companies should have that big picture in mind. And responsible, loyal, happy employees won't be talking about how bored they are at work. (But let's face it, everyone gets bored sometimes....)