Use of social applications at work
Some companies have banned the use of social applications at work – fearing the impact on productivity. While others think that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social applications allow for messaging and collaboration in the workplace.
Two Gartner analysts, Anthony Bradley and Nikos Drakos, have suggested in a recent Gartner report “Seven Key Characteristics of a Good Purpose for Social Software” that Facebook, Twitter and the others can prove valuable in helping colleagues and customers connect, so long as businesses employ a defined usage policy.
With 90 million-plus users leveraging Facebook, businesses are increasingly looking at the social network as a business networking tool, the way professionals leverage LinkedIn. Enterprises should create policies that dictate fair use of Facebook and its cousins, as well as microblogging tools such as Twitter and Plurk.
The key arguments for banning social applications are:
(1) negative impact on productivity – certainly true if people daily send invitations to invoke Good Karma and the like.
(2) worries about he company’s internet bandwidth being blocked by people running virtual reality applications and watching videos
Managers do need to create a usage policy and a general policy statement for expected online behaviour, respecting company policies on appropriate and ethical behaviour.
Businesses concerned about copyright infringement and inappropriate brand use, should also have policies on this: Drakos said that employees must be aware that if their profiles on public social networking sites identify them as employees of a company, then their postings can have an impact on the company’s reputation.
But web collaboration tools are software applications that help users connect with each other to work on projects or to share information; allowing users to send instant messages, set up Web conferences or create shared wiki sites.
Previous Garnet research concluded that the potential of social sites for business remains largely untapped, but they will become more important to the competitiveness.
Companies such as Ziff Davis Enterprise have a group on Facebook while others like Credit Suisse have banned use of social applications at work.
One thing is for sure, every company needs to make a clear decision on its stance on this topic, communicate it clearly to its employees and review it regularly.
Living Streams would be pleased to offer specialist advice in this important area of internet development.