Employers Block Twitter & Facebook

Employers Block Twitter & Facebook

What do you think? Block or UnBlock?

There’s been alot of scuttle but around the internet as to the effect of using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter while in the workplace.

A matter of fact ScanSafe recorded that “ScanSafe saw a 20 percent increase in the number of customers blocking social networking sites in the last six months” and According to their data, 76 percent of companies are choosing to block social networking and it is now a more popular category to block than online shopping (52 percent), weapons (75 percent), alcohol (64 percent), sports (51percent) and Webmail (58 percent).

Further in the article, which was published on Networkworld.com, Spencer Parker stated that

“in recent months, employers are obviously wising up to the dangers and negative impact on productivity linked to certain sites and more and more customers have chosen to block social networking, online banking and webmail.

Now I know that this article was primarily concerned about employee productivity, but I would like to get your take on the matter.

While doing some more research as to the amount of time spent on social networking sites in general. An article dated back in March of 2009 PC Magazine stated that:

One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites, the group found, or 45 billion minutes in total. That works out to a bit more than a combined 85,500 years spent on blogs and social networking sites in Dec. 2008 alone.

The above article may support the fact, that people in general spend quite a bit of time on blogs and social networking sites, and that this could cut into the time while people are at work.

But do you think that companies should block these social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook during work hours, or should the employer jump on the bandwagon and make there presents known on these platforms, and allow there employees, at certain periods during the work day, to access these sites for either personal or business use?

From a marketing perspective, maybe the employer should look at social networking sites as a way of adding value to there already existing customer base, and then let the employee be a apart of that marketing process, by allowing the employee a certain period of time during the day to promoting the company, and by providing customer service through these social platforms, and then after that work was complete, they could spend a little time doing there own thing.

What’s your take?

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27 Responses to “Employers Block Twitter & Facebook”

  • avatar paul goss says:

    I support and encourage reasonable use of facebook… I support and compensate employees for their twitter accomplishments… one of our guys just got to 2000 follows and found a little bonus in his paypal account… they build relationships and support our goals! …and have some fun! whata concept…..

  • I believe that companies that block sites like this just don’t get it. At worst, they’re going to get happier employees as a result of allowing them to socialize with others of a similar vein….

  • Companies are idiots to block this PR opportunity. What they should do is just put a really good social media policy in place with guidelines as to what their employees and and can’t say about the company.

  • avatar wendy soucie says:

    If you approach social media tools as components of a social media strategy that is targeted to acheive business goals you will know the reasons behind why any department or emplyee should be on a social media site.

    The key is a strategy, action plan, reource allocation and budget defined. Along with that guidelines for posting, escalation points, internal knowledge resources so those designated social media team members know how and why they move forward.

    This will make executuves comfortable in participating and where necessary, stop others from working on these site without guidance.

    To shut everything down by blocking is like cuttting your nose off to spite your face.

    Wendy Soucie
    Certified Social Media Consultant (Social Media Academy)

  • Depends on the company. A small doctors office in Naples, FL is not going to get many people from other states coming into their office, because they posted on Twitter and Facebook. Wereas a small business in Naples, FL that ships items nationwide would benefit from sales around the U.S.

    As an employer I would not want my employees using the internet during work hours. The company is losing money, paying the employee to use the internet for their own use. It was mentioned that the company get on the band wagon and let the employee tweet for the company for a specific amount of time.

    The main problem is the employees MINDSET. An employee will only do enough work not to get fired. Goofing off for a few minutes here and their is common among employees. They do not see the harm in it and as long as they dont get caught and can get away with it, they will continue to do it. If you give the employee the task of tweeting for the company……then it becomes part of the job (WORK).

    As long as the employee is posting for themselves, they will continue to want to do it. Once you make it a part of their job, they will start to slack off in that area and not want to do it.

    Again, it is in the most employees mindset to work for their employer enough not to get fired. If they can get away with anything, most will try. Note: Not every employee falls into this category.

  • avatar Erik says:

    I work for the US Government and just about EVERYTHING in this direction is blocked, so I’m a little insensitive. Work computers are for work and the employer is not providing bandwidth for our personal internet time. Besides, most reserve the right to monitor ALL computer activity so I wouldn’t even read my e-mails (which is still allowed on our computers with the understanding that it’s off-duty time). I don’t mix my private and professional life. Twitter is for home.

  • Very good point Erik,

    Working in just about any government position does have it’s restrictions.
    But it is good that you are able to find time at home for using Twitter.

    Thanks again for your comments
    Timothy

  • Thank you Butch for your thoughts on the article,

    And you are correct, most employees will not go out of there way to post on Twitter or any other social media sites for that matter, to help promote there own company.
    I have seen in some cases where employees are given an incentive to partake in the marketing aspects of the companies that they work for.
    Timothy

  • Thank you Wendy,

    Very good point, Many companies are still working on traditional forms of marketing which doesn’t include the internet.
    And you are correct, to be competitive in today’s market you do have to step up and get on the bandwagon if you do want to stay competitive.
    Thank you for voicing your thoughts, I’m sure our visitors will take heed.
    Timothy

  • Thank You Paul,

    Companies that do employ some form of incentive, like yours, will eventually reap the rewards as a whole.
    It may not show a short term gain in sales, but in the long run it can provide more value to the customer, and then in turn increase sales.
    Timothy

  • avatar Lance says:

    Pro’s and cons for both sides. Some people just don’t understand social networking and aren’t interested in it. As Viveka mentioned, a strong social media policy would need to be implemented and also the postings monitored. There is so much hype about the number of folllowers people have but where is the ROI? Are they quality followers, regionalised (depending on your business), personal or business orientated? What I don’t like to see is the “real” client being neglected in favour of the “virtual prospect” client. e.g phones taking longer to answer, recognition at counters etc while the employee tends to their sms, email, twitter or other social networking avenue. Maybe a certain time allocated when the whole business, department etc can get together to discuss strategy, structure and post away but continuing throughout the day would have to be monitored carefully in jobs where revenue isn’t directly accountable.

  • avatar Porkchop1950 says:

    I for one believe that those employees that have the gumption to participate on any of the social websites do plenty of positive promotion for the business that they work for. For a business to bar this activity would be a negative move for both employee moral and employee productivity. An employee that is creative and positive will out perform a fellow employee 2 to 1 if they feel empowered and free to move about the business whether it be online or physically in a setting promoting what they love to do best. Hopefully it is for the company they work for. Sure go ahead and kill that feeling. Only a dumb CEO would shut them off. He just has to make sure that it doesn’t create a problem and most people aren’t stupid. Just fire the ones that are.

  • Dear Porkchop,

    I totally agree. I feel if an employee shows that kind of initiative and willingness, then by all means, set some guidelines, draw up a plan, then let the employee go for it.
    Things of this nature can definitely boost moral as well.
    Timothy

  • Thank you Lance,

    Well said, and you are correct many companies are involved in social networking and are not interested.
    But they must also, look at the possibilities of an increase in sales or (ROI) as you put it. We can not put
    aside the possibilities.

    Timothy

  • avatar philena says:

    It’s interesting that about Erik’s statement as a government employee should not use social networks, when Senators, congressman, and represatatives are encouraged to use the platforms. Policies can be implemented to make it work because everyone employee’s position will determine how it can be used, or if they bother using it at all.

  • avatar Deb Kolaras says:

    Once again, management is playing catchup. If the the heads of these companies would first identity, then move positively towards the use of new media, they wouldn’t have to play babysitter to their employers. But I put the cart before the horse: so many posts here reflect a negative tone to begin with about employees, like they’re a roaming band of ne’er do wells – and we wonder why so many employees are so disenchanted with their jobs? Start with hiring the right people for your company, and then put a simple policy into place regarding SM use, monitor it a bit and step back. If you have the talent in your marketing and customer service area, let them oversee it. If you put positive light on this, rather than making it the scourge of the company, you’ll likely find it boosts morale, productivity (how many excellent resources have YOU found through SM Channels?! Me, tons!) and maybe even some good press. However, if you’re a company that looks upon its employees as nothing more than a means to an end, go ahead and block it…but you do know they tweet from home, right? And to Erik’s post about Government use of it; is there’s any place that needs more transparency, its OUR employees with the Government.

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Great Comment Deb~ Wow~

    Extending upon your comment…
    There appears to be a paradigm shift happening in the working world…

    The old way is employer/employee.
    The new way is “partnerships.”

    Where everyone involved truly benefits and things are treated equally.

    In a nutshell, if companies learn and embrace partnerships within their organization, they’ll see the results you mentioned Deb
    Productivity, boosting morale, and more…. like strong bottom line results and HAPPY People from customers to employees.

    -Al
    @alferretti
    http://twitterwatchdog.com

  • avatar Alain Saffel says:

    There are benefits and disadvantages to letting employees use Facebook and Twitter at work. It really depends on the type of business you’re in. Do you want the girl at the till at McDonald’s to be Twittering to her friends instead of taking your order? Your bus driver while he’s going down the road? Obviously not.

    There’s no need to go into details about potential benefits, because that’s been done many times elsewhere, but there can be benefits depending on your business. You do need to think about whether your target market can be reached with those forms of communication. Are you going to reach that many people if you’re a welding shop? Probably not.

    As always, there are never simple answers. A blanket statement saying all employers should allow full access to Twitter and Facebook is naive at best.

  • avatar Anelly says:

    Recent survey revealed that 54% of US companies are blocking access to social networks , 19% allow access only for business purpose and 16 % allow limited access to social networks for personal use. http://blog.cyclope-series.com/2009/10/study-54-of-companies-ban-social-networks-at-work/

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Great point Alain, thank you for sharing~

    -Al
    @alferretti
    http://twitterwatchdog.com

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Thank you Wendy (good neighbor) for referencing the post on your blog.

    -Al

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Very interesting…

    Thanks so much for sharing that survey about US companies are blocing access ot social networks, etc..

    -Al

  • avatar silverwink says:

    Whether an application is blocked or not, self-control comes from within

    Ive been using http://bit.ly/bJwmma .
    It uses a better procedure than blocking social media sites because it only monitors sites like Twitter during production hours. People/Employees still have the option to use it for a breather or during breaks .
    Sometimes they use it for work too in helping reach decisions. For me its really unnecessary to block Twitter.

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