54% US Companies Ban Social Media... and That's Fine

According to a study commissioned by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company, 54 percent of U.S. companies say they’ve banned workers from using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace while at work. Source: 54% of Companies ban Facebook, Twitter…

We should be shocked that this number isn’t higher. Let’s look at this realistically. For many professions, networking is crucial to success, but in most professions, it is personal networking, not online that is beneficial. For instance, I don’t want my doctor on twitter. Can you imagine an surgeon breaking to tweet or check his feed. Seems not only ridiculous but dangerous. A lawyer tweeting about his current case would clearly be a breach of trust. Would it be appropriate for the delivery driver to be tweeting while on the job, no because his job requires him to concentrate on the road. Or what about a retail employee or server. Certainly they are not being paid to tweet, but rather take care of the customers. For many jobs social networking / social media provides a distraction from the task at hand.

I am a big user of social media / social networking. I’ve seen large benefits through it including finding some great employees and consultants right from twitter and facebook (sorry Linked In, but by the time I’ve networked with them on your site I’ve already worked with them). For me this makes a lot of sense and fit’s well with a lot of what is part of my responsibilities in my job. Can it be a distraction to me, yes, but I believe that the benefit heavily outweighs the cost. But most jobs aren’t like mine, and between the risk and the potential information leaks, social media really doesn’t make sense in the workplace.