Bosses ‘should embrace Facebook’ says a report on BBC News. Demos, “The Think Tank for Everyday Democracy”, has apparently released the findings of a study that says:

Companies should not dismiss staff who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo at work as merely time-wasters.

The BBC report goes on to quote Demos as saying:

Attempts to control employees’ use of such software could damage firms in the long run by limiting the way staff communicate…. Social networking can encourage employees to build relationships with colleagues across a firm. However, businesses are warned to be strict with those who abuse access.

I wanted to read the original report on the Demos site, or at least the press release, but there was no sign of it at 8.33 am UK time on 29th October 2008. So we’ll have to make do with the BBC article.

Not much ‘everyday democracy’ going on here if Demos is restricting access to the study!

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4 Comments on Bosses ‘should embrace Facebook’

  1. Peter says:

    Hi Karen

    thanks for picking up on the story! I’m from Demos and a co-author of the report. We should have had the pamphlet up already on the site, but it will be there asap as a free pdf download. Apologies.

    We certainly won’t be restricting access – all our publications are free to download and our copyright license comes from the Creative Commons, so we’re as open and accessible as we can be…uploading delays excepted!

    Thanks again – do drop me a line if you want to talk about the report or this topic.

    Peter

  2. Hi Peter,

    Many thanks for the update. Delighted that you give your reports a Creative Commons license. Many of my colleagues will be interested in the report. Look forward to reading it.

    Regards

    Karen

  3. As an IT professional I believe it would be a short-sighted and risky to allow employees or contractors to even possibly exchange corporate/business information through an unaccountable service such as facebook.

    For the following reasons:

    * user submitted information to Facebook is stored in the US where there is no comprehensive data protection legislation.

    * Facebook is a free service – what’s in it for them in the long run? What of intellectual property implications?

    * Facebook applications are notorious for being security and privacy hazards, as well as being potential hazards to the security of a coprorate network

    * Facebook are known not to delete user information even after accounts have been cancelled and numerous requests for deletion. Is this the kind of company with which businesses should store any kind of communications history?

  4. Phil Bradley says:

    Interesting views Charlie – thanks for sharing them. To be honest, I don’t think anyone is really suggesting that sensitive corporate information should be shared across an open network, but equally that shouldn’t preclude its use in more general discussion.

    NOT participating in Facebook doesn’t stop people talking about your organisation or things that are pertinent to that organisations business. To pretend that Facebook doesn’t exist and to ignore it is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying la la la.

    People should of course be sensitive when it comes to making their data available but surely that again should not preclude the use of that or any other service? In fact, one could make the point that it’s more sensible to actively use the service, be aware of the dangers and limitations and work with them. A lack of understanding leads to far greater problems.

    Facebook is indeed a free service. This is neither the time nor place to go into detail about the funding for Web 2.0 resources but in short – it makes its money by selling advertising. Tell me – if you have a concern over this aspect I can confidently expect that you don’t use Google either, since that works on the same financial model.

    As an IT professional you’ll be fully aware of firewalls, how to block a virus and so on. Surely it’s the job of IT professionals to warn and educate their users regarding this and to ensure that they have put appropriate measures in place? To simply say ‘it’s dangerous – you can’t use it’ it to abrogate any responsibility, which I don’t regard as being particularly professional. Someone could use their work phone to ring their aunt in Australia – but we don’t ban the use of phones. I don’t regard this as a reasonable or indeed reasoned approach.

    Facebook does delete information. It’s true that it didn’t do so in the past, but my understanding is that it does now. One can again make the point that Google isn’t exactly speedy to delete the information they have on users and their search histories, though since you won’t be using that service either it’s not an issue for you of course.