Social Media and Social Networking

Get Social!

Australia Inc. Blocks Social Networking?

Posted by Vaibhav Kalamdani on June 1, 2009

social-networking-no-entryWhether social networking sites should be accessed at workplaces or not is probably one of the hottest debate topics across the Web. Though several businesses allow their employees to ‘tweet’, ‘update’, or ‘poke’ at their friends, others are skeptical about its usage and are blocking access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. As per the recent findings from Telstra Business and MessageLabs, Australian businesses are taking strict actions against the use of social networking sites.

Loss of productivity and increased use of bandwidth and Internet are the major concerns forcing enterprises to keep their employees away from social networking sites. In fact, a recent research by Nielsen also supports the fact that social networking is more popular than e-mailing at offices.

To understand the situation better, here are some statistics as per a review of web-usage trends of Australian small and medium firms:

• The number of attempts that are blocked every day to access social networking sites stand at 6000, compared to 2000 per day 10 months ago.

• The total number of URLs blocked by companies has increased by 193% since January, most of them being social networking sites.

• The total number of URLs or Web addresses allowed by companies to access has been reduced by 58% since January.

Regarding this issue, a top official at Telstra Business said that an employee who spends as much as an hour a day on Facebook can end up costing a business thousands of dollars in lost time over a period of 1 year. He suggested implementation of formal policies on social networking usage in the workplace, supported by effective software tools.

Tackling Social Networking Issues:

Different businesses have different notions and experiences regarding the use of social networking sites. While some companies prefer blocking them for productivity purposes, others use it for their advantage like employee engagement. There is clear difference of opinion regarding this matter, which depends on various factors such as the dedication of employees, the nature of business, the amount of work in hand, the kind of work, etc.

You would probably find a marketing and communications company allowing its staff to access social networking sites, contrary to a manufacturing firm. Employees working for a creative agency might want to take a short break between work and access social networking sites like Facebook to rejuvenate their mind. Eventually, it all depends on how a particular company thinks about and experiences the concept of social networking.

Hence, adopting formal policies can help businesses monitor their employee’s performance, even after allowing them access to social media sites without hampering the organization’s productivity.

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