“Facebook ban a little hasty”: counting the benefits of social networks to the enterprise


Following up on yesterday’s kerfuffle on Facebook in the enterprise, the Australian Financial Review has an article on page 3 titled “Facebook ban a little hasty”. While briefing mentioning the spurious numbers provided by SurfControl, they report that Pacific Publications, a major magazine publisher, has banned employees from accessing Facebook, while law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler blocks Facebook from 8am to 6pm. Apparently in the case of Pacific Magazines, bandwidth and system crashes were mentioned as reasons for the ban. They quote Bruce McCabe of S2 Intelligence describing their approach as “amateurish” and saying “it won’t work and they will eventually get over it.”

The article finishes by quoting me:

But this should be contrasted with companies that actively encouraged their staff to use networking sites, such as Deloitte, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, IT commentator Ross Dawson said.

“Being able to reach out to the right person for expertise and knowledge – this is one of the primary values of any knowledge-based worker,” he said.

All in all, a rather more balanced view than the scare-mongering appearing in most of the media yesterday. From here, the task is to educate the corporate sector more on the benefits of effective social networks inside and outside the organization, and how best to support it.

I also did three radio interviews yesterday, in each case the story being the benefits to organizations of their employees using social networks well.

There was a rich array of response to the media hype from bloggers in Australia and beyond:

Laurel Papworth: Australian Traditional Media: Just STOP it.

Steven Lewis: Facebook set to destroy Australian economy by tomorrow

Stephen Collins: Australian media misleads on social computing

Matt Moore: How Facebook will kidnap your children & demand a $3 trillion ransom

Randal Leeb-du Toit: Facework: Good for your health too!

Pixelated Dreams: All up in your Facebook, Australian style. Is it all just a waste of time?

Andrew Cafourek: Fight the Man: Facebook Edition

Donna Bogatin: Facebook a Time Waster? Jeff Pulver STILL LinkedIn!

Rodney Rumford: Facebook is a Waste of Time. AKA How to Sell a web control product. FIRE!

Sean Aune (Mashable): Fuzzy Math: Facebook costs Australia $4 billion in lost productivity

Jason Preston: Facebook is not always a waste of time