I am making this a sticky post since there is a lingering issue and hot debate on whether Social Networking Sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Friendster, be allowed in the workplace. There has been a growing concern in some organizations regarding the curtailment in internet access. To what extent an employee should be given internet access? Please feel free to give your comments, reactions and suggestions at the end of this post.
Social networking sites, especially Facebook has really gone up to the rafters as far as the number of registered and active users. The following will further justify this.
Facebook Statistics (as of posting)
- More than 400 million active users
- 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
- More than 35 million users update their status each day
- More than 60 million status updates posted each day
- More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
- More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
- More than 3.5 million events created each month
- More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
- More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
- More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
- Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
Average User Figures
- Average user has 130 friends on the site
- Average user sends 8 friend requests per month
- Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
- Average user clicks the Like button on 9 pieces of content each month
- Average user writes 25 comments on Facebook content each month
- Average user becomes a fan of 4 Pages each month
- Average user is invited to 3 events per month
- Average user is a member of 13 groups
- More than 70 translations available on the site
- About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
- Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
- There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
- People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
- There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
Despite all this good figures and popularity of Facebook, some employers have banned Facebook and social networking sites — as well as other perceived time wasting sites — from the office. Social Networking sites come and go over the past few years, but new interactive communities are developed and continue to improve, and company employees cannot resist and be active participants.
Why most Employers are against social media in the office
A 2009 survey on policies and data loss risks from Proofpoint Inc. listed the following findings which may well explain the dilemma of business owners:
- 17 percent of companies report that they have investigated the posting of confidential, sensitive or private information to a social network, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
- 10 percent have taken disciplinary actions against an employee who violated social networking policies in the past 12 months.
- 8 percent terminated an employee for violating a social networking policy.
- 45 percent are highly concerned about unauthorized information being posted on social networks.
Security breaches and sharing of confidential information has always been a concern of every employer, even without Facebook and social media sites. The issue of wasting time, as a possible threat to productivity, is merely a percentage of the total worry of an organization.
In Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), Facebook, Friendster and other social media networks are banned from any computer connected to the network. Even the students are not allowed to access these sites because the school is advocating the use of internet for educational purposes rather than wasting time in social networking which can be done outside of school. Sites like YouTube, job search and watching sports are also restricted, because of bandwidth issues that slows down the other legitimate and more relevant usage like research. However, employees and students can use their smart phone to connect to any of these sites and the institution can’t do anything more to stop them. However, I believe that forcing this people to stop accessing these sites wouldn’t really address the problem.
I personally believe that the organization’s focus needs to be on tasked results and productivity, not merely taking the access away and hoping they don’t find a way to tinker with their Facebook accounts as there will always be a new available unblocking site tool to go around web filters.
Forbidden internet sites in the office
In blocking Facebook and other bandwidth eating sites, some employees argued that the situation is an issue of trust, or lack of it, by their superiors to the subordinates.
“They don’t trust their work force to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate media in the workplace, or to do work when on the job,” one employee lamented.
Most companies has blocked all social networking sites, as well as streaming media and other potentially objectionable or harmful pages.
Other organizations use social media for their businesses. In some companies, employees are encouraged to access and utilize social media, such as Facebook, as they see fit because it can help the business. Some organization even advertise its tech-savvy approach to business by using this social media networks, and even get good results by increasing the employee morale because of the access to social media.
Obviously, companies have different stand on social media, and based on their organizations experiences, a single approach might not be the best way to handle it and obviously not applicable to all. If Facebook can benefit your company, then there’s no reason to ban it. But if employees are wasting time and bandwidth, it really doesn’t really make any sense to allow it.
The only chance employees can toy with the social media network is to keep their usage meter at the minimum. Avoid getting the ire of your superior by sneaking your smart phone under the desk while accessing Facebook. Be productive. Don’t give them a reason to dislike social media. Always remember that you are getting paid for eight hours of work and time wasted is money wasted for the company.