Social media at work

| August 27, 2010

A recent video has caused some uproar in eLearning communities web-wide. It’s called, “Organizations should ban social media.”

It is, of course, not to be taken seriously. Seriously. In fact, the reason it is becoming so popular is because of its obviously outlandish claims like, “social media is a fad” and “employees will goof off.”

While EdLabbers are not in danger of losing their access to social media sites (right?), employees in other organizations are.

A 2009 survey found that 54% of US companies banned social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I think the lack of trust in employees is sad and says a lot about a company’s culture. If you take away social media because you are afraid that employees are wasting time, you better find out what they will replace it with. Get it? The problem isn’t social media.

Social media is an asset to a workplace. It increases knowledge share and facilitates collaboration. Not allowing the use has spawned “the new cigarette break”—where employees go outside and use their smartphones to check in on their networks. I’m not saying that social media can’t be abused, though. But again, if employees are using their work time to build barns in Farmville (is that what happens in that game? I’ve vowed never to play it) instead of recognizing the opportunity for growth, then perhaps the situation should be evaluated more carefully. Still, in the right hands, it’s likely that social media can do more help than harm to a company.

Blogger Clark Quinn said it best [in the cigarette break article], “Innovation isn’t solitary, and your best colleagues are not necessarily in your workplace.”