Facebook, Twitter face increasing scorn in the workplace

By Justin Mann on October 9, 2009, 7:20 PM
With over 300 million users, Facebook isn't lacking in popularity, but there is one domain where it isn't loved or appreciated: the workplace. The site's very nature makes it easy to access from virtually anywhere -- and that includes your workstation. That has earned services like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter a bad reputation as a time waster, with upwards of 54% of companies reportedly banning them already.

The cited reasons vary, but all revolve around lost productivity. Of those that don't prohibit use of social networking sites, a substantial portion allow limited use, such as for business reasons only or "limited personal use." Altogether, only 10% of a relatively large pool of CIO's said they allow unrestricted access to social networking sites. How long will that 10% last?

There are issues that go beyond the impact on productivity though, as social networking sites are being identified as security risks. Network administrators worry that a user could infect a machine through careless browsing. That is certainly not limited to social networking sites, but the concern arises given their sheer size, thus making them a target. What's worse is that users typically trust sites like Facebook and that means they are more likely to become victims of malicious acts while browsing them.




User Comments: 16

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strategic strategic, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is easy to see, but it doesn't hurt productivity, sometimes it helps to just break away from your duties, so in a way, you become more productive with Facebook or Twitter. Unless of course you're someone who takes advantage of your privileges.

2-3 minutes here or there make employees more productive.

Guest said:

Your employer owns their internet service. They can do whatever they want. Bottom line! Surf the internet on your own time with your own connection! Not so hard to figure out. Why do we even have to discuss this.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Since the whole premise of twitter is to waste everybody's time, by stopping everything that you're doing, to make some ridiculous post about a bunch of inconsequential s*** that nobody actually cares about anyway, why wouldn't this piss employers off big time? Why would you presume what you're doing at the moment has any relevance, pertinence, or consequence in the first place.

Nowadays people can't summon the self control to shut their mouths for a minute. It takes longer to type than speak, therefore wasting additional time that belongs to somebody else.

What exactly does everybody think the have worthwhile to say in the first place? Simply because your cell phone has an unlimited plan, that doesn't in any way correlate to anybody wanting to listen to an incessant bunch of drivel.

It's been "proven" that a short nap during working hours improves productivity. However, this probably no longer holds true today, since the average twitter addict would have to get up and blabber about it. And this would be assumed to be of interest why?

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

wow!..... twitter,facebook, myspace, and reality tv is the fruition of Andy Warhol's prophecy ...okay so its only 9 minutes, but none the less...okay so i just had a bump of my beer and like the dog needs to go out.....stay tuned!

Guest said:

There's not just the security risk of viral infections...there's also the risk of someone thoughtlessly putting damaging/security-compromising company information up.

Then there's also the folk that manage to put up personal information about their own or other's workplace shenanigans & manage to get themselves in trouble or negatively impact company reputation, like those girls who took pics of themselves in the KFC sinks or the guy who tweeted about the actress who stiffed him on a lunch tab & then the tip.

People seem to forget that when you put something up online publicly it can literally be seen by everyone all over the world & it's permanent, even if you delete it later a cached version can usually be found somewhere.

Sometimes it's better to just keep your damn mouth shut...so to speak.

Guest said:

I agree with everyone except the first guy. Come on buddy, let's be honest Facebook is addictive, I don't know about Twitter, I personally hate it and never used it. Even Facebook I only check out once every 3 days, but my friends practically live on it.

I find it rather self centered to post just about every stupid thought that comes to our mind. We certainly wouldn't do that in face to face conversation, so why do it online?

I never like it when employers ban anything, but if employees aren't responsible enough to moderate their waste of time then someone has to step in. I can't believe what kind of stuff people get away with at work sometimes.

Guest said:

There is a way around this. About a year ago, I read about a new practice to "monitor" employees, but in a manner that allowed employee input into what was retained. Every 10 minutes, a screen shot was taken of the employee's workstation. The application allowed the to browse the day's shots and remove those that he/she didn't want to be reported. The 10 minute durations corresponding to removed screen shots were not counted as work time. The employee gets the flexibility he/she wants, and the employee doesn't get ripped off. Seems like a pretty fair arrangement for both parties.

It's also very revealing feedback as to how we spend our time. In order to analyze the *true* amount of time it takes for me to accomplish something, I use the M$ Journal application to start/stop timers on various tasks. It's amazing how much time is spent getting coffee, using the washroom, touching base with colleagues, etc., and this feedback would likely prompt employees to be more aware, disciplined, and professional. Not that the we should do away with the breaks or the chats with colleagues -- just strike a balance (however that is defined, possibly even the employee's own idea of a reasonable balance). Granted, much of the chatting could criss-cross between professional and personal, and casual touching of bases with colleauges is highly beneficial to synergistic co-operation (immediately or in the future), so such time shouldn't just be dismissed as wasted. A balance has to be struck, however, with other work priorities.

The 10-minute screen shot approach would be way more charitable in the sense that it doesn't reflect the chatting, or private calls/texts.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Twitter, Now Available in 5 Channel Surround Stench.....Coming Soon

....To an Outhouse Near You....!!!

wow!..... twitter,facebook, myspace, and reality tv is the fruition of Andy Warhol's prophecy ...okay so its only 9 minutes, but none the less...okay so i just had a bump of my beer and like the dog needs to go out.....stay tuned!
Well don't quit on us now, you have us hanging on the dog's every fart.

tengeta tengeta said:

Poor emo kids, no more Twitter at work.

Guest said:

FB is nothing but a social rash and should be outlawed.

Phantasm66 Phantasm66 said:

There's been several stories in the news in the UK about people being fired because they wrote things that critized their jobs on Facebook. There was an email came out at my last work telling you not to write anything negative about them on there.

strategic strategic, TechSpot Paladin, said:

FB is nothing but a social rash and should be outlawed.

The same goes for 'guest' posts on this forum.

Guest said:

My last employer blocked more then half the websites. If a website was not IT or news related, it was blocked. We had two computers in the building from which you could check your email like gmail or hot mail.

So this is nothing compared to what i had to deal with and many people still do.

Phantasm66 Phantasm66 said:

Guest said:

My last employer blocked more then half the websites. If a website was not IT or news related, it was blocked. We had two computers in the building from which you could check your email like gmail or hot mail.

So this is nothing compared to what i had to deal with and many people still do.

This sort of thing is becoming the norm, i.e. you can only reach certain websites from your workstation and there is a breakout area where you can surf to Hotmail, Facebook, etc.

And to be honest... quite right. You're at work to work not to post messages on Facebook.

Phantasm66 Phantasm66 said:

....however, the other issue is that things you POST on facebook getting you in trouble at work. That's more shaky ground.

Guest said:

i have always used facebook i have lots of peoples addies but apparently twitter is being taken over from facebok so more ppl go oin twitter because famous ppl go on there and chat to you so that u cnan follow them and thingds. ppl think they r the real ppl but i personally dont think that they r. i like facebook and twittwer but there you go it dont matter what ppk think about whats better just stay on whatever you wwanna go on init so yh. thats what i think. i use both sao there you go i like both of them. plz write bk and let me know what you think. bout what i said. dont argue whats better weho really carwesd bout that!

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