Are you blocking social media in the workplace? You’re not alone

Depending on which study you are willing to buy into, Enterprises
and Government agencies are either all on board with, or all against,
the use of social strategies.  In order to open up the discussion I
reached out, and found, a few people who admit their companies/agencies
block social media for all, or most, of their staff.  To avoid the
public lynching I have seen start on other platforms, I have decided to
keep the name of the interviewed private, for now…..

Alright, I lied.  Wayne Sadin
was kind enough to chat about this topic and to allow me to link to his
LinkedIn profile.   Thanks Wayne, I appreciate you taking the time to
weigh in on this topic.

Read on and let me know what you think, did they make the right choice in blocking social media?

Q. What kind of business were you working at when you blocked social media?
A. corporation with nearly 10,000 employees, most of whom were non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees.

Q. Why did the business decide to block social media usage?
A. It was done as part of a review of our overall acceptable use
policy, wherein we define what kinds of sites aren’t appropriate for
employees to access using company resources. We looked at the
aggregated number of person-hours/day for sites like Facebook, YouTube,
etc., and saw that it was huge. We also looked at bandwidth
consumption, especially bandwidth from HQ to our hundreds of branches,
and saw that it was huge (to the point it sometimes interfered with
system access).

Q. How do you decide which users get access to social media (if any)? What is the percentage of users that are enabled?
A. Everybody was initially treated the same. We left LinkedIn,
Plaxo and Cardscan unblocked. And we installed a process whereby an
employee can petition for access: either that site should be unblocked
for all users, or that one or more sites should be unblocked for that
employee. We unblocked a number of sites for everyone but very few
sites for specific people

Q. Do you see a return on investment for the users that social media is enabled for?
A. We believe our productivity has improved once we removed numerous temptations.

Q. What were the long range plans in terms of social media usage? No plan to ever enable?
A. Since the firm is business-to-business we don’t see a lot of
need for general employee access to social networking sites beyond the
few business-oriented sites mentioned earlier

Q.  Anything else that you would like to add?
A. ** The underlying issue as I see it is what kind of work
benefits from access to social media. I’ve already been attacked just
for replying to your question (LOL).   But I think LinkedIn users
assume everyone at work is like themselves…knowledge workers whose work
product benefits from unstructured collaboration with like-minded
individuals mediated via social networks. The reality of work is that
many people are task-focused and their work is done according to
standards established by their employer. For this kind of work access
to social media is a distraction that hampers productivity and hurts
profitability. We’re NOT all knowledge workers, even in 2010!

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