Banning Facebook in business is futile

by admin on July 29, 2007

in Innovation

Neville Hobson points to reports from the Daily Telegraph indicating that:

[…] More than two thirds of employers are banning or restricting the use of Facebook and similar sites over fears that staff are wasting time on them when they should be working, a survey found. Several companies have also warned employees that accessing the site during office hours is a sackable offence.

More than 70 per cent of businesses, including banks and law firms, have barred the sites. City firms are taking the lead, with Credit Suisse and Dresdner Kleinwort both banning employees from accessing them. But “Faceblocking” is spreading.

I’m sure the irony of this won’t be lost on JP Rangaswami. Until recently, JP was CTO at DrKW and remains a firm advocate of social computing tools like Facebook. In a recent post JP has a hunch, suggesting that at least some of the bans have happened by accident but:

The trouble with decisions like this is that the larger the company, the harder it is to overturn default decisions.

You’d be surprised how often stuff like this happens.

I’m not so sure. This is reminiscent of so many past ‘bans’ like use of phones for personal calls, email and as Neville points out – most recently blogging. Which begs the question. Is management so badly trained that it behaves like Pavlov’s dog every time something ‘new’ comes along to threaten the command and control hierarchies of which so many are enamoured? If so then change in the way management is trained is sorely needed.

Social networks and Facebook in particular are with us. Get over it, move on and take advantage of what it offers.

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Clive Birnie July 30, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Another form of Corporation Fear screaming "We have no idea what is going on here but we are going to put a stop to it anyway" rather than investigating, understanding, embracing.

Maybe having your employees grouping themselves in Facebook and advertising their employer says something very positive about your corporation. Maybe they are writing very positive things about your corporation and maybe both send positive message that attracts talented progressive individals to work for you in the future.

Sounds dangerous to me. Best put a stop to it. Ok they could be saying negative things… but that is also an opportunity for understanding and progression.

If an individual is speding all day doodling in Facebook then surely this will show in a downturn in that individual's performance. Easy to sit them down and talk about their delivery and agree steps with them to improve it. Better to manage performace than blanket bombing campaigns of behavoir management which do not work.

Krupo August 1, 2007 at 6:01 am

I know of at least one place where the organizer of a corporate fcbk group was fired and the rest of the group members had to scatter into hiding.

And another case where the staff disbanded their group, amid security concerns.

Of course, a super-villain would have a field day with fcbk, using it to case a potential target. In at least one of those two cases, though, I don't think that was the reason for the disbandment…

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