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Why Your Company Should Not Block Facebook or Twitter

By Roman KniahynyckyjSep 30, 2010

cleveland does your company block facebookThe below vignette is a true story. Names and descriptions have been changed to protect the innocent.

[INTERIOR: LARGE COMPANY AUDITORIUM - MORNING]

Top managers gather for a quarterly update meeting. Among the agenda items is the unveiling of an organization-wide social media strategy. The CEO steps up to the podium.

WELL DRESSED CEO:

My daughter asked me the other day if I tweet. "Huh?" I said.

(smattering of audience laughter, CEO nods sheepishly)

Today our VP of Marketing will discuss our social media strategy...and tweeting.

(polite laughter; VP of Marketing approaches podium)

VP OF MARKETING:

Hi everyone, I'm very exciting to show you our new Facebook and Twitter pages. Please be sure to retweet or like any posts that appeal to you. Oh, and since Facebook and Twitter is blocked here at work, you'll have to do this on your own time...

(confused murmur from audience)

Cut! Print!

I was in this meeting.

It took place only a few months ago and got me thinking about how many of today's employers block access to key social media properties.

Blocking sites like Facebook and Twitter is unnecessary and counterproductive, here are some reasons why:

  1. Trust: If companies can entrust their employees with things like patient care, financial data, or customer care it follows that they should be able to trust these very same employees with something like access to social media properties. Social media policies should, of course, be put in place to provide guidelines for your employees. 
  2. Creativity: There are pundits out there that calculate the billions lost with employee status updates and tweets. Ultimately though, our minds need a reprieve from our workplace tasks - that's why we have smoke breaks, coffee breaks and water cooler conversations. Stepping away from a problem via Facebook or Twitter may actually help you solve it.
  3. Empowerment: You become powerful by empowering others. If you think you are optimizing productivity or security by blocking certain sites, you are  probably doing the exact opposite while creating an illusion of security for yourself and your company.
  4. Happiness: Your employees might work 40 hours a week but when you factor in commutes, prep time, and work that is brought home - it's a lot more than 40 hours. If you can increase your collective workplace happiness by letting your call center folks see their friend's vacation pictures or new boyfriend on Facebook, you will likely be paid forward with a more productive workplace.

Don't be the CEO I described above. Be this CEO.

Does your company block Facebook or Twitter? Tell us why...

pic: Joshua

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