Do Your Bosses Think You Web-Two-O Too Much?

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Is Web2.0 a drain on your productivity?

The explosive use of LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace has urged some companies to reevaluate their electronic-use policies. Some organizations have banned social-networking tools completely over concerns about a drop in productivity as well as data-security.

Has this happened in your workplace?

Let’s be honest, there is something inherently addictive about social-networking. CIO.COM report that (according to IT Director of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, Mark Lappin) some employees were spending 4-5 hours per day on it – quite possibly an exaggerated or worse-case claim, but I believe it possible. Even if it’s a half or quarter of that, this still creates a massive drag on an organization’s output.

Even if its use was kept to a minimum, it still presents a potential data-security risk. Hackers have refocused their energies toward spreading their crap across these services, resulting in compromized workstations and networks. Also reported on CIO.COM, David Lavenda, (a vice president at WorkLight) claims that email is in a steady state in the context of hacking, but social-networking tools present real opportunities to the villains out there, assumingly because the maturity of hack-prevention tools is low.

This presents a dilemma for CIOs and employees. How do organizations allow their employees to connect and communicate for genuine business purposes without opening the floodgates to loafing and abuse, securely?

One answer is a solution that each and every one of us takes responsibility for. That is, we use these tools responsibly: we limit our use to genuine business activities, including building relationships, and ensure that we comply with acceptable use policies as well as employ savvy practices to avoid malware penetration. Easier said than done. But if we take that responsibility seriously then we create the best opportunity to avoid a management backlash of shutting these tools down.

I have encouraged the adoption of these tools many times over. They enable genuine business advantage as well as for personal benefit (use for job-hunting), yet I have to encourage responsible use as we all do.

If we don’t, then it will be taken away!

So do you web-two-o too much? And more importantly, would your boss agree?

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4 thoughts on “Do Your Bosses Think You Web-Two-O Too Much?”

  1. I am on a contract with a law firm. The IT bosses have totally shut down all use of social networking tools there. Shame really as people miss opportunities to connect with other people and learn about stuff, but then again, law firms are all about profit and maximizing it so I cant blame them.

    1. simonstapleton

      @Jon – I guess law firms need to be a ‘shining example’ of staying within the law. I wonder what the consequences of this will be in the long-term though. I hear that there are a growing number of employees who won’t join a company if they can’t use social media. Very small numbers now, but maybe a significant percentage in the future!

  2. I guess those IT bosses are in CYA mode.

    Partners would chop off their heads at any damage to the firm’s reputation (or risk of legal action against them) because of client info getting shared inappropriately.

    Most of the top brass I’ve known have no clue about social media – some could barely check email…

    But, as Simon says, a whole crop of young’uns are coming up who see (and are doing) things differently.

    In the meantime, a vicious recession where jobs are scarcer and sackings rife, ought to keep the lid on the bottle a while longer.

    And I’m still not on FaceBook 😉

    1. simonstapleton

      @Mark – I expect you’re right that the folks who would leave an organization because they don’t embrace social media will probably stay put right now.
      When the upturn comes (I like you post on the recovereh? Mark) that with increased mobility, this will change and bosses will have to take a serious look at the impact of social media, even if it is to ban it.

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