Killer quote to promote social media to management

I’ve just been reading Ken Burbary’s blog and came across an excellent story from Scott Monty. I think it’s a beauty in itself and doesn’t need any additional commentary:

“A friend sent me a PDF of an article from a business journal in which a company expressed reservations about this new technology over which everyone seemed to be abuzz. They decided that they would restrict employees’ use of it, because of the fear of corporate secrets getting out, of insider information making its way to Wall Street, and of employees wasting their time on it. For that reason, they set up the hardware on a single station in the middle of everyone’s desks so that everyone could see how people were using it.

“That PDF was an article from a 1930s business journal and the technology was the telephone.”

I’m definitely going to use this next time I have that particular discussion around social media!

  • I'm aware of a 750 person non-profit in the SF East Bay that, as recently as a few years ago, only had email accounts for the execs. The shortsightedness is just amazing.

    We allow social networking tools at my org, and I'm 99% sure that we don't have anything that constitutes abuse (and, if we do, I'm an abuser, as I have Twitter open all day and I check it every hour or two, and post one to six ttweeta a day). My feeling is that, if we were to block Twitter and Facebook, the 90% or higher of our staff who either don't check it at work or don't need to wouldn't care all that much, and, of the 10% who do, we'd be blocking mission-supporting activities.

    We also use web-blocking software, a decision that is justified by it's role in blocking spyware-laden sites. We recently reconfigured our filters (which had been set up by my predecessor), and went with no blocking or "warn, but allow to continue" on a lot of things that had previously been set to block. The only sites that aren't clearly threats that we agreed to continue blocking with pornographic sites. My take is that IT has no business determining for staff what is business-related and what isn't (I blogged pretty extensively about this here: http://techcafeteria.com/blog/2009/04/21/the-roi-… but that blocking pornography is probably more of a favor to our staff than an act of censorship. It's far more often unintentionally loaded than intentionally. Mind you, I've also worked places where the reverse is true…

    • My opinion is that if your staff spends hours on Facebook and YouTube without doing their job, then you have a problem that cannot be solved by blocking those sites. If that's happening, then you have a management problem .

      To me, a scenario like that means that people have disengaged from their work. Blocking social media sites will not change it. It will simply result in them finding different avoidance strategies.

  • thank you very much for the nice story! i doing a presentation at a youth groups leaders' pr seminar tomorrow and will definitely tell it there 🙂