Don’t Fight the Flood of Social Change

Photo cred: teejaybee
Photo cred: teejaybee

Apparently, companies are still blocking the use of social networks by employees.  If this study is true (I’m unsure) I really have to question how these companies grew in the first place.  They clearly don’t understand how to adapt to change.

While specific businesses may have been established at some point in the past, the people working for them are subject to the social environment that they currently live in.

For a while, you might try to keep out the changes that are occurring, but eventually, the flood gates will be opened, whether you like it or not.  If you’re not prepared to handle the flood, you’ll drown in it.

Case in point: Some business and professionals still tried to keep out comments and feedback on their content.  Google opened the flood gates by force.

So what do you do to prepare? As Trey Pennington put it, “Banning, [is] like telling teenagers “don’t,” [which] produces undesirable effects. Better to embrace, train, inform, equip.

Don’t fight the flood, because you’ll lose.  Embrace the fact that it’s going to come, then train, inform, and equip your brand to handle it.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Fight the Flood of Social Change

  1. I have to say I disagree here Spinks. In any position that an employee is not involved in marketing there is not much they can do to benefit the company by logging facebook time.

    This is especially true for anyone who has a job based on tangible production like data entry or research (I am purposly omitting jobs that don’t require internet access).

    Take me for example. I am quite sure that if my bosses blocked social media sites such as facebook and the spinks blog I would be at least twice as productive.

    The truth of the matter is, while it is possible to help your company by promoting it and yourself using social media, 99% of the people on these sites at work are just dickin around.

    1. You disagree? Shocking (=

      I’ll disagree with you. If your bosses blocked facebook and my blog, you wouldn’t become more productive, you’d simply move on to the next site and blog, and spend time there.

      The argument in this post wasn’t to say that companies should openly allow use of social networks in the workplace. It was to show that trying to block them out completely clearly isn’t going to work for long. They’d be much better off setting guidelines, and incorporating these changes into the workplace.

      When email first came out, that was looked at as a distraction (as many people used it to share silly things that they found) and now many businesses can’t imagine functioning without email, as they have adapted and integrated it into the system. Sure people still email each other silly things, but if you try to make work all work and no play, loss of motivation and comfort of employees will end up hurting productivity more than that silly video would have in the first place.

      1. But say they implemented a rule where they would monitor my internet usage at the end of the week, which is something many companies are doing these days, added up all of the hours i spent jerkin around on the interwebz (probably like 10 hours) and said they were going to deduct that time from my pay. I would be less happy with my job for sure, but I would have little ground to stand on in a counter argument. Also, this deterrent would, in all likelihood, keep me on track at work.

        My point being, there is more than one way to adapt. Your point on e-mail is a great one, but you have to admit that it is THE shining example next to which all others would pale in comparison. The internet gave us new ways to do our jobs, as well as new ways to not do our jobs, and right now social media falls into the latter catagory for most people (present company withstanding)

        1. New social media tools might lean toward the ladder currently, but it has also brought a great deal of value to the business world, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t take the same path as email.

  2. Companies should have certain amounts of time spent on sites if they need to have a policy. Completely blocking it off makes people want to access it. Our company view is: as long as you aren’t taking away from your workload, social media use is ok.

  3. I haven’t been an employee much, or often. so my slant is from a biz owner.

    I’d offer two simple choices:
    1. as an employee, your time at work must be productive to work only.
    2. if you prefer freedom, a contract is in order. Meet the job requirements get paid, and goof off as much as you like.

    I know that sounds blunt, but I think it sums up the general feelings of employers.

    After all, if you can get your work done efficiently in 6 hours, why not just go home early ? If downtime at the agency exists, find a way for it NOT to exist, make yourself indispensible instead of just useful. In only a few cases can social media help accomplish the latter. I think that’s why you’re seeing companies shut down access.

    Caveat: I’ve never been in the actual situation of being refused any access to any activity at work, as an employee, contractor, or consultant.

    Perhaps this is a “fishbowl” question — insofar as for about 90% of people the POSSIBILITY that engagement in social media can contribute to their work performance is probably NIL.

    p.s I like the sidewiki example — that has certainly punctured a hole in many a dam already — great for political causes, especially 🙂

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