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Social Media Blackout: Which Side of the Fence Are You?
A US college Provost ordered a week-long social media blackout on his campus after he was intrigued watching his teenage daughter at home one night. The 16-year-old was multi-tasking to the core, with social media websites open on her laptop and several apps on her iPhone, the teenager was listening to music on iTunes, while chatting up with friends on three IM windows - all at the same time.
This was quite similar to the behavior that the Provost had observed among his students on campus. As part of an experiment, the Provost Eric Darr of Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania, decided to chop off access to Facebook, Twitter and Skype for a week. The students were then asked to write an essay on life during the 'exile' from social media. The purpose was to help students understand the impact technology has on their lives and how they use it as a part and parcel of their daily chores.
Well! Provost Darr mirrors those who believe in blocking social media websites in their companies for several reasons. These may range from negative impact on productivity to waste of valuable office time. While some cite security reasons for doing so, others point to wastage of resource and zero creation of business value. Whatever the reason, today every CIO has to take a call on this.
According to the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report that is based on the survey of 3,000 college students and young professionals:
* One of every three college students and young employees believes the Internet is as important as air, water, food, and shelter.
* Two of five said they would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
* Regarding security-related issues in the workplace, seven of ten employees admitted to knowingly breaking IT policies on a regular basis, and three of five believe they are not responsible for protecting corporate information and devices.
One wonders that in a day and age when social media is creating multiple virtual colonies of like-minded people who are passionate hobbyists or ardent brand followers and consumers, how good is it to block social media sites at work, where people spend the better part of their waking hours?
Which side of the fence are you?