Before joining the ranks of small businesses who allow their employees to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, owners worry about what their employees would say. Even more worry that, once let loose on social media, employees will spend too much time on their network of choice, chatting idly and wasting company resources.
But, as it turns out, both of these major concerns are not based on anything factual. They are phantoms, the Bogeymen of youthful companies and new business owners. Looking at a survey conducted earlier this year, the BBC reports the likely amount of time employees will devote to social media in the workplace: “Over half of those [employees] surveyed admitted using social networking sites during the working day for personal use. On average those people spent 40 minutes per week on these sites.”
That amounts to under 10 minutes per day, or one, maybe two breaks from a work activity. Not so bad, and possibly supportive of increased productivity over the course of the day.
David Meerman Scott, author of the NY Times bestseller, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, expresses the same opinion regarding social media company policy, but from an even stronger standpoint:
“This debate about social media in the enterprise is just so damn silly. It seems crazy to me to try to regulate technology in the workplace when the real harm (or benefit!) comes from the people using that technology. I’ve witnessed the same phenomena twice in the past two decades: when personal computers entered the workplace in the 1980s, and during the Web and email debates of the 1990s… companies fretted about employees freely using the public Internet and being exposed to ‘unverified information’ that was not written by ‘real journalists.’… Yet how many companies today refuse to provide a computer to employees at work if it can help them do their job?”
With social media quickly becoming the small business trend of 2010, is your Facebookophobia cured yet?