The recent debate about how to control employees using office time and networks to connect to social networks seems to have been something of a phony war. In spite of the time and effort spent on developing systems and policies to deal with the issue social networking within the workplace continues to rise. According to a survey by Internet content security provider Trend Micro, social networking at workplaces globally has risen to 24 per cent in 2010 from 19 per cent in 2008. The largest increase in social networking over corporate Internet connections during the last two years was among employees in Germany, which saw a more than 10 per cent jump, and the UK, with a six per cent rise.
Even for those firms who have succeeded in winning their own ‘battle’ with the problems associated with inappropriate levels of social networking, the victory can be somewhat pyrrhic in that many people merely take their activities elsewhere, including outdoors where they can connect to Facebook on their smartphones.
This has given rise to the notion that it is social networkers who are the new smokers of the 21st Century, outcast yet enjoying the solidarity of their companions, huddled in doorways, chatting, spreading news and sharing ideas to the envy of their deskbound colleagues. We haven’t yet been asked to provide a ‘Facebook shelter’ for them, but maybe it’s a matter of time.
Posted by Ann Clarke