It's a social world out there.

For Work and Play.

Posted on: December 7, 2009

We have all been guilty of it at one time or another, and some of us, I am sure, more than others – checking social networking sites while at work. Heck, some of us do it for work!  The facebook during lunch break  and twitter check in every couple hours is part of millions of American’s work days.  Companies of all sizes and shapes have been forced to take into consideration their stand on social media.  The effects of social media use and networking during work hours can quickly get out of hand, it is important for all companies to implement well thought out policies for employees.

A Reuter’s article from October 2009, entitled Work and Social Media; Striking a Balance, gives us an idea of how and why companies are working with, not against the social media trend,  saying:

“Small companies, often recognized for their lack of bureaucracy and adaptable nature, may be particularly adept at gleaning the valuable contacts and other business resources that online communities offer. To do so, they are emphasizing acceptable uses of social media in the workplace.

‘I am encouraged that people understand how to use it,” says Larry Burns, CEO of StartSampling Inc., a Carol Stream, Illinois-based digital marketing services company that develops Internet campaigns offering free samples on behalf of consumer companies. “If (employees) are involved in the creation of promotional activities for our customers, they need to understand what this space is.'(1)

Above writing Deborah Cohen gives an example of businesses working to gain ROI from social media use.  While it is often argued that the value in social media is hard to measure, many companies feel the trends are strong enough to embrace rather than reject social media and networking use in the work place.  It is important that when companies accept social media use they have stringent guidelines and acceptable use policies in order.  There should be a clear line between what is acceptable and what is not.

While this piece and my cited article back the trend of accepting social media use in the work place, this is not yet the norm for most businesses. Even with a very high percentage of Americans taking part in social media and networking during free time, AdAge states in an article entitled, Give Employees Facebook Time many businesses are not ready to accept use of social media on the job. The November article states, “The social-media revolution is seeping into the workplace, and employers are nervous. According to social-web blogger David Armano,approximately 70% of organizations ban social networks. USA Today reports a lower amount, but still: An Oct. 22 survey shows 54% of businesses are banning social media from the workplace. Fears about decreased productivity and/or risk exposure seem to be resulting in censorship within workplaces.” (2)

I strongly feel that social media will continue to change how we work and play.  This means businesses must consider not only how they use social media to turn profit, but also how they accept or reject the use for employees on the job.  It is not likely simply banning social media use will make workers most productive.

1) Cohen, D. L. (2009, October 29). Work and social media: Striking a balance | Reuters .Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.reuters.com/article/idUST

2) Strong, T. (2009, November 16). Give Employees Facebook Time – Advertising Age – TalentWorks. Advertising Age – Ad & Marketing Industry News. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://adage.com/talentworks/article?article_id=140556

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