The topic of corporate “fencing” of social media sites has been circulating around many of the community groups I’ve recently engaged. While there are always two perspectives to consider for every action, I think this article from Marketing Profs sums it up well:
In a post at the Acidlabs blog, Stephen Collins points to the results of a recent survey that found a whopping 55 percent of Australian employers blocked workplace access to social networks like Facebook; the proportion is smaller elsewhere—20 percent in Britain, 12 percent in France and 10 percent in Germany—but still represents a huge number of companies.
“I’m firmly of the view that this is a foolish approach by business,” says Collins, explaining that the policy insults employees by assuming they’ll behave like irresponsible children. Instead, he proposes the implementation of sensible guidelines. “I’d suggest that it’s very okay to use Facebook to stay in contact with industry peer groups at work,” he notes as an example, “but demonstrably not okay to use Facebook to play zombie games or Scrabble at work.”
Here are some of his recommendations:
> Use employee feedback to write a policy that sets clear parameters and consequences.
> Teach employees how social networks operate, and how to make the most of their business potential.
> Encourage them to engage in ways that will enhance innovation at your company.
The Po!nt: According to Collins, sites like Facebook are not inherently anti-productive. “Social networks are just another tool that have incredible potential to help your business if used in the right way,” he says.
So my question to you is: Is fencing social media sites the most responsible way to manage employee communications? Should corporations fence these channels for employees? Or is there another way that might be better for both the employee and company that is productive, yet secure?