Thursday, December 3, 2009

Social Media as the new technology boogeyman

As Social Media becomes a scapegoat in workplaces because “employees are spending too much time on it” or “they’re not representing us well with it” I love to tell this story about a scary new technology in the workplace

The new-fangled technology was not to be trusted … so much so that the boss set it on a desk in the middle of the office where he could see it through the window in his door. Now he was sure he could keep an eye on it and monitor its use by employees.
You see he just knew employees would be tempted to spend too much time on that contraption, would not use it for work purposes and, worse, would use it to give away company secrets. What possible good purpose could this technology be put to?

Well that “technology” was the telephone and the timeframe? The start of the 20th Century.

You see humans have always mistrusted the new and suspected it would lead to “no good.”

So how should organizations regulate Social Media in the workplace? They shouldn’t … at least not in ways different from the way they regulate computer and telephone usage.

3 Ways Businesses Can Erase Social Media Fears:

1. Explain: Tell your employees all about Social Media (including some of its pitfalls such as “Your tweets will live on forever … be careful”) and then explain to them that their use of company property (computers etc) to engage on Social Media is stealing unless they are doing the company’s business.

2. Train: Are there things they could legitimately do to help your business on Social Media? Absolutely! So train them in the types of messages around your company, your products and services that you strongly suggest they use when the opportunity is right. Show them how to use Social Media to monitor for mentions of your brand and/or product and then train again on how to direct those messages or respond to them.

3. Ingrain: Make sure every fiber in their body understands that Social Media is a public space. They should not say anything they would not be willing to shout from your rooftop in front of you or their mother (whoever carries the bigger stick in their minds).

If you, like me, believe that businesses blocking access to Social Media and other websites is wrong please consider checking out
and supporting its work.

Remember, Social Media, like most things can not truly be suppressed or held back. Why not embrace the change and have smart employees acting as your eyes, ears and mouthpieces?

Related posts:
Questions Are a Recipe for Social Media Success
5 Social Media Mistakes


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