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Saturday, August 8, 2009

7 Reasons Why People Should Have Access To Social Media At Work For Limited Personal Use

  1. We take for granted that people can make personal phone calls and send personal emails at work, so why is social media any different?
  2. If we try to block certain sites we're basically saying to our employees, "I don't trust you." A very disheartening and disengaging message - bad for morale.
  3. If employees are engaged in their work they won't abuse Facebook. If they're abusing Facebook then there is a problem outside of social media that needs to be addressed.
  4. Many people have devices they can use to access social media without needing to be on the company computer. So it just turns them off that they can't work more conveniently.
  5. For many people, social networking combines elements of personal and professional - their friends are also their colleagues. I had a conversation on Facebook among a professional network this week about the best way to boil an egg. And in truth, at work, people work better with people that they can shoot the breeze with - we're not robots. So it's probably not a good idea to paint everything that's called "social" as unproductive. (Isn't that sort of what GovLoop is, a place to share best practices in a collegial environment?)
  6. It's been said a zillion times but worth repeating, the next generation will not stand for being cut off from what they see as necessary tools. They have Facebook on all the time, behind their other applications. It will unnerve them and make them disloyal to take that away.
  7. And finally, there is no doubt that some people will abuse every privilege they are given. Isn't that why teachers in elementary school have to give kids "bathroom passes"? Unfortunately the workplace hasn't evolved all that much from elementary. But to my mind most people are mature enough to appreciate the privileges they're given and use them appropriately. (If they're not, they don't belong in the workplace.)