The Business-Technology Weave

Nov 17 2010   8:54AM GMT

Half of All Organizations Ban Access to Social Networking Sites

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

Interesting news comes to us that half, or slightly more depending on the survey, of all organizations are banning access to social networking sites.  (You may wish to see my earlier guest-post at the Enterprise IT Watch Blog, Social Networking and the Blended Environment).

This is a sea-change from a few years ago, when organization’s had sort of a Wild West situation going on.  The “Business” half of the organization was mired in business – the doing of doing what ya do – and “IT” was lagging a bit:  particularly in small and medium business environments. 

Acceptable Use policies made little if any mention of social networking.  Many policies were even thin on e-mail etiquette.  Remember “netiquette?”  How quaint that seems.

Even today, as I review policies, many are remiss in their treatment of social networking.  As I remarked in an earlier article, I think a Permitted Use section of an AU policy is a good thing, spelling out the when of what you can do on social networking.  It’s a blended environment, and people are going to use company assets such as e-mail, to apprise spouses and other significant others of their schedule:  My arrival time home, who’s picking up the kids, etc.  To say nothing of “Friending”…

Now consider that Facebook is adding e-mail to its services:  Employees have another tempting avenue of communication via work-related assets for purpose of handling personal affairs.

Some companies allow social networking on lunches and breaks.  Some ban it altogether.  However, what is important is that you size the employee expectations and associated use- and establish protections for your organization.  The general caveats that have stood in time apply:  No bad-mouthing the company, its personnel, its practices… Do not divulge corporate secrets… most of it dumps straight out of HR, and gets quickly tuned and rewritten as IT policy, and as a section of IT orientation for each new hire.  Be sure that employees aren’t conducting official business through social networking, as that doesn’t come under the umbrella of your content management policies, your backups, your oversight.

Periodic refreshers for appropriate use of social  networking, or no use at all, for all staff are in order, too. 

Nov. 17th:  On this day in 1853, street signs are authorized at San Francisco intersections.

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