Qualman Spanks Companies That Ban Social Media at Work

“People who surf the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t.”

Social Media Ban

Recently posted a highlight on comments by Dr. Bob Johansen, futurist and author of Leaders Make the Future, then today ran across Companies Ban Social Media = Bad Idea by Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics, about companies that ban social media in the workplace. Qualman and Johansen are on the same track, and everybody else better follow suit or watch the future train leave us behind on the platform.

Johansen told of a survey of young teens who were asked, “How much time do you spend each day online?” The surprising result? They didn’t understand the question!

To them there was no distinction of online or offline, no separation of realities. He encouraged business leaders and teachers to adapt to the learning and knowledge sharing realities of this new generation of digital natives, with what he called reverse mentoring.

Short version, find a thirteen year old and learn how to communicate in the future, or grow increasingly irrelevant. Companies who are banning social media will be hopelessly unprepared.

Qualman reports that according to USA Today 54% of companies completely block Facebook, and another 35% apply some sort of limits. He asks, is this the same foolish impulse that caused companies to ban Web mail (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) a few years ago, and the Internet even earlier? He answers that banning social media in the work place is the same as banning the telephone because you might make a personal phone call!

Read his posting. My favorite factoid is this one:

“People who do surf the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t,” Dr Brent Coker, from the Department of Management and Marketing at The University of Melbourne.  More from this Australian Social Media study can be found here.

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