Companies Ban Social Networking

by on 07/10/2009

smartphone showing Facebook in suit pocket

According to a new survey from Robert Half, the majority of companies prohibit social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter during working hours.

The surprise here is not that 54% of companies ban these sites completely and another 19% permit them for business purposes only. No, the surprise is that this comes as a shock to anyone. Companies have always attempted to keep their employees away from perceived distractions. First companies frowned on personal phone calls. Then companies were worried about non business email use. Most recently, companies have controlled and logged Internet use with many going as far as blocking access to sites that were not deemed as useful business tools. The blocking of LinkedIn, Twitter et al is simply the extension of this trend.

The twitterati and those who make their livings from social networking are up in arms of course. They argue that it is incompatible for companies to use these tools to promote their businesses while simultaneously denying their employees the right to use them. This is a facile argument. A company pays to use whatever methods it wants to advertise its wares; it simply does not follow that the company should therefore allow its staff the same methods for personal use.

The future may well lie with social networks; our children’s use of technology shows that this is inevitable. However, can we really blame companies for fighting this trend for the time being and attempting to keep their workers concentrating on what they are paid to do?


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