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Social Networking and the Workplace: Social Networking Policy

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/24/2010

In the beginning of this six part series, we take a look at social networking in general before we dive into five different social networking services used today, to determine whether or not allowing employees to take part in these social networking activities at work could create problems.

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    Overview

    Social networking is a powerful communications tool, yes, but it is meant for the workplace? This is the start of a six part series which take a look at 5 different social networking websites and analyze them in terms of advantages and disadvantages of social networking in the business atmosphere, so as to help you in developing a social networking policy for your office.

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    Considerations

    The issue surrounding small business owners and social networking is while there are risks and downfalls, there seems to be a positive reason to use it for each negative one. The concerns are bandwidth, liability, malware, and of course productivity. However, for some businesses, the increased audience, web traffic, and overall consumer participation outweighs these concerns. Using social networking allows you as a business owner to filter traffic to blog posts, sales and specials, along with giving you an excellent way to stay in touch with your consumer base. Because of these issues being hard to sift through to determine how to best use social networking, you must be willing to open your mind to more than just one social network, and decide which one is right for you and your business purpose.

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    Services in this Series

    The five different social networking communities addressed in this series will be:

    • MySpace: Perhaps considered the pioneer of social networking and the brunt of several news stories, this network is one of the largest out there, and its use in business is questionable.
    • Facebook: A major competitor of MySpace, this network, once open to students only, tried to target a niche, but soon realized the power was in a larger market. Maybe better suited for business than its MySpace predecessor, one can still question its benefits.
    • Twitter: An entirely different style of social networking as compared to the previous two, this social networking website is more of a productivity killer than any, though it has its benefits.
    • Linked In: A newer social networking site on the scene, this one has a primarily business focus, and therefore is one of the safer ones to allow. The business focus helps control the audience and downplays the disadvantages of social networking.
    • Windows Live Spaces: Microsoft’s attempt to jump in on the social networking, offering a variety of services and features, may or may not be good for business.

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    For each of these services, we will take a look at the pros and cons of their use in business, to help you decide how you should garner the use of these websites on your network. Some may decide to block the use of all of these networks, while some may decide to keep open use of any or all of them.

    Remember though, these social networking sites are not the only ones out there. Many new social networking websites continue to come to the forefront looking for a piece of this web 2.0 pie—each one of them trying to outdo the others to gain notoriety.

    If you are interested in seeing more about the pros and cons of social networking in the business arena, check out Brett Callow’s article, Online Social Networking Sites: Balancing Benefits against Risks.

Social Networking and the Workplace

Does allowing your employees to participate in social networking activities place your business security at risk? In this six part series, learn about five popular social networking websites and what harm they may or may not cause to your business security.
  1. Social Networking and the Workplace: Social Networking Policy
  2. The Role of MySpace in Business
  3. Facebook for Business: Good Idea?
  4. The Role of Twitter in Business
  5. The Role of LinkedIn in Business
  6. The Role of Windows Live Spaces in Business