Sunday, January 13, 2008

Face off with facebook

Facebook – a time waster?
Youngsters have some neat TXT acronyms on messenger for intrusive parental behaviour - POS and POMB (Parents Over Shoulder & Parents On My Back). As HR departments fall over themselves to ban Facebook, it begs the question as to whether they should ban it or build on it in organisations. It’s a little sad that supposedly, people-friendly HR departments are now seen as the social-police. But they may have a point which is the possible drain on productivity.

7 types of added value
What organisations want to know is the added-value to their organisation of social networking. First we have to distinguish between open and closed social networking. A closed network, like a Facebook corporate network only allows members to socialise with other employees. Given this distinction, what are the benefits:

  1. Recruitment – using networks to find and assess candidates is becoming common.
  2. Induction – what better way to familiarise new starters than real-people social networking across the whole organisation.
  3. Optimal operational networking –optimal teams/networks in an organisation are rarely the people you sit beside. Social networking widens and optimises the network, especially in multi-site or international organisations.
  4. Training – using such sites to distribute knowledge and viral learning seems sensible. Use what people use, not what the IT department prescribe.
  5. Home workers – reduces isolation and increases teamwork.
  6. Happy employees – social networking is successful as it makes people feel valued and part of a social community. Happy employees are more productive employees.
  7. Links with people outside the organisation – useful in terms of contacts, sales, client relationships, finding suppliers and so on.

Midday spike
There’s a
midday spike on the internet as social networkers, news hounds, gamers and ‘video snackerschillout from their daily grind. So the productivity slump is, I suspect, a mirage.

Giving a talk on this and other social networking issues - legal problems etc at Learning Technologies on Thursday 30 Jan at 11.30.


Dick Moore said...

Donald you don't specify where you are giving your chat on Social Networking.

I agree with many of your points, my worry would in a world open to Freedom of Information Act and increasing litigation that as the line between work and social activities becomes softer, it's the employee that will get themselves in hot water.

Good training and peer moderation is critical if your vision is to work. There is a real case for a course called managing on-line;

* Managing yourself
* Managing your team
* Managing your organisation

Next generation management training should make this course compulsory !


Anonymous said...

Which planet do I have to move to where HR are 'people friendly'

Human Resources 'we mine resources until there is nothing left' are only friendly while they are working out how to stab you in the back.

They lost there way when they changed their name from 'Payroll'

Anonymous said...

I do personally think that Facebook is a waste of time. It hasn't done much for me apart from reconnect me with old friends (who I don't keep really keep in touch with anways).

The second most useful thing of Facebook are groups. Yet I don't use them because they lack the basics of RSS. I don't have the time to go and check for any new news.

I think there are alot better options out there than Facebook. I t doesn't mean I think banning is right though.(This just gives me an opportunity to have a rant!)

Of course there are people who feel the need to ban things, such as this Brighton University Professor.

Anonymous said...

Strikes me that any organisation that has productivity issues with Facebook et al needs to look at its recuitment and performance management rather than blocking sites. It seems to be on the lowest run on the scale of trust. And without trust what sort of company culture are you really projecting.

But, then again there is no end to which IT departments seem to be hell bent on denying the power of networking (ironically). Ours even blocks the Plan B Blog...