You would think IT managers would know better.

Well, at least I would think that.

But, according to IT Week, a new survey of IT managers shows a majority in favour of banning Facebook and other social networking sites in the workplace.

I can well imagine situations where personal use of computer systems is a bit iffy – not least air traffic controllers – yet I can’t help thinking that many employers need to be a little more balanced in their approach.

They still invariably see potential pitfalls of social networking in the workplace, rather than possibilities and opportunities it could present.

It remains a long path to enlightenment.

Perhaps these IT managers haven’t got many “friends”, or don’t get poked as often as they had hoped?

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8 responses »

  1. ex8404 says:

    You’re kidding, right?

    Let’s pretend that I’m an employer. I pay John Doe a certain amount of money to do a job which, in turn, makes me even more money. Exactly where does Facebook fit into this? I really don’t want to pay Mr. Doe any money at all just so he can inflate his ego by counting the number of imaginary friends he has made on Facebook while using my computer in my office using my electricity.

    You mentioned that “social networking” and the “possibilities and opportunities it (can) present.” I sure would like to see some of those explained in detail.

    John Doe goes to work to work. Let him set up his play dates with his imaginary friends on his own time.

  2. Paul Groves says:

    ex8404: Here’s a bit of light reading on some of the potential opportunities…

    http://tinyurl.com/6293wk – Accountancy Age.

    http://tinyurl.com/6fsvpv – SMEs on bcs.org.

    http://tinyurl.com/63om98 – Enterprise Quest.

    There’s plenty more out there on the www.

    Assuming Mr Doe is relatively content in his job, given opportunities by his employer and valued as more than just a money-making tool, then he probably wouldn’t want to inflate his ego, poke imaginary friends or waste his firm’s electricity.

  3. Ursula says:

    ex8404 – you are not the new 007, working under cover of a new number?

    Just as blogging and emailing has replaced that wonderful time consuming pleasure of people knocking at your door to visit, ‘social networking’, like facebook, appears to have replaced the quick chat whilst putting on the kettle in a communal kitchen, or having a conversation across the water cooler. Be a bit more forgiving and a little more human. If you WERE that imaginary employer you might find you workforce so much happier, thus so much more efficient.

    U

  4. ex8404 says:

    Actually, no one works for me and I have never hired anyone to work for me. Not even to cut the grass. I’m a high school teacher in Tennessee, USA and Facebook is the cause of all kinds of problems.

    Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and a bunch of others are blocked but getting around a block is easy. Pull out the classroom computers for research and 80% go straight to Facebook. I’m a pretty interesting kind of a guy but I can’t hope to compete with Facebook. But the kids LOVE to fight over the he-said-she-said stuff they write about each other.

    I can honestly see some value in social networking in the workplace as long as it is regulated and explained. But I can not believe that having a receptionist keeping a Facebook page open while answering every third call is good for anyone involved.

    Ursula- I am very forgiving and my humanity has never been questioned before today. But I forgive you (see? forgiving).

    Paul – Thanks for the links. I might use them in class. really didn’t mean to sound so argumentative. I just picked the wrong week to quit smoking.

  5. Paul Groves says:

    ex8404: OK, no worries. You might be interested in this one too – http://tinyurl.com/59nawp

    It is about a study set up in the UK into social networking and the impact on universities, namely how they can make better use of Web 2.0. Not much to report on it at the moment, they are due to release fuller findings at the end of the year. But I’m sure many of the recommendations would translate to education as a whole and not just universities.

    Good luck with the not smoking thing.

  6. Ursula says:

    Poor Paul, your blog has become a little like a school’s gym; first you you choose your team, no sooner do you have balls flying round your ears.

    As to being argumentative, ex8404, either you are or you aren’t. I gave up smoking many years ago, and I am still arguing, even with perfect strangers.

    My 16 year old son tells me that facebook is for “older” people. And he is so fed up with beebo he has given up the will to text.

    Since humanity comes in lot of shapes and sizes I most certainly have not questioned yours; however I do not wish to be forgiven.

    U

  7. ex8404 says:

    Paul – Thanks for the extra link. I’m going to keep an eye out for further developments on the study. I still think that without a clear and concise plan to incorporate social networking into a business, the social hobbyist could hurt productivity with a poorly placed remark or photo.

    It sort of cleared my mind for some new possibilities. That’s one of the problems with being a teacher. I spend WAY too much time with teenagers. It’s easy to forget that the rest of us work with actual adults.

    Ursula – We really have to stop meeting like this. Yes, one either is or is not argumentative. But just as I can be clumsy without really meaning to, I can write or say something that, at first glance, feels right but is actually perceived as a bit shirty. So, while the perception may have been argumentative, the intention was not.

    If I may give you an example:

    “Be a bit more forgiving and a little more human. ” Perhaps your intention was not to question my humanity but these words do so quite clearly.

    As for forgiveness? The great thing about being a live-and-let-live kind of guy is that you don’t need to ask permission to be forgiving.

    Paul, thanks for the forum. I’ll leave you kids alone now.

  8. Paul Groves says:

    ex8404: As this is an issue I’m interested in, I’ll be keeping an eye open for more info on it too. You’re right about a general lack of clarity. It seems we’re all on a steep learning curve about so much of this technology and they’re already talking about the next stage of the evolutionary process.

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