Facebook: Banned at work


A press release I did through Porter Novelli/3 Mobile got picked up in Queensland:

Facebook and other social sites banned by many bosses

AUSTRALIAN bosses are more straitlaced than their European counterparts when it comes to allowing access to social networking websites.

An online survey of 1000 Australian employees found 55 per cent said their boss had banned sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

This compared with similar bans on 20 per cent of workers in Britain, 12 per cent in France, 11 per cent in Spain, 10 per cent in Germany and 6 per cent in Italy.

The online poll, by 3 Mobile Australia last October, also found the clampdown had led keen social networkers to use subterfuge.

Almost one in three (28 per cent) hid their screen from their boss so they could network undetected; almost one-in-four 18-to-24-year-olds said they shirked extra work to make time for social networking; and 17 per cent skipped lunch to justify work time spent networking.

A big majority (66 per cent) believed Facebook was for work as well as play and accepted work colleagues’ “friends requests”.

Social network commentator and blogger Laurel Papworth said companies were banning sites such as Facebook for the wrong reason.

“They’re confusing the ‘social’ in social network with ‘party’,” she said. “It’s really a ‘society’ network made up of friends, family but also vendors, clients, colleagues, industry experts, leading thinkers and mentors.”

Ms Papworth said social networking was not “skiving”.

“The use of social networks in the workplace is a reality and the best and brightest businesses will benefit from harnessing the potential of an ambitious, hyper-connected workforce,” she said.

Elizabeth Allen of The Courier Mail (news.com.au) put it together.

The comments are fascinating. Most people believe that “you go to work to work”. Odd. It’s like the brainwashing is so ingrained they can’t conceive of a life where they can make their own decisions about contextual relevancy of how and when they consume information.  Anyway, you can comment at Courier Mail or over at Stephen Collins AcidLabs blog. Or even on Facebook itself – I created Companies that BAN Facebook and social networks – Australia about 18 months ago, to capture the names of companies that don’t trust their staff. That is, of course, assuming you work  somewhere where they treat you with a smidgen of respect.

I wish they’d ban World of Warcraft where I work. Of course, I work from… home.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

22 thoughts on “Facebook: Banned at work

  1. @trib thnx for blogging Courier Mail & I’ve linked to you in bloggy http://twurl.nl/cmzjxq Remember our FB group from like, 2years ago?

  2. It would be interesting to know how many employers have banned Facebook because it has been abused.

    In all the posts I have read on this topic it has been assumed that companies that ban Facebook have done so out of fear or not understanding.

    You can’t tell me that there are not people who abuse Facebook at work.

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

    1. But it’s like *any* tool, Daniel — you can eventually stop ‘bad’ behaviour by using their own KPIs on them; if they aren’t meeting the requirements of their job then you can quite rightly have a ‘disciplinary meeting’ with them and prohibit their, for example, Facebook access for a month. If their performance improves you can re-introduce it — either they will have learned their lesson or they will lose FB for ever.

      Lee Hopkins’s last blog post..Free speech, online communication and the law

  3. Yeah that is true Lee. I suppose what scares employers is that it isn’t really a tool that they have introduced. It has been introduced on the back of the internet in the workplace and introduced by employees (in the majority of cases).

    I think we had a communal pot of examples, that are easy to understand for non-SM literate bosses, then employees could point to them to show why FB is useful.

    Instead we still talk about how it can be used rather than clear examples that are easy to digest and which employees can blueprint for their own office.

    It would be hard for the average employee to justify why they need FB above the tool they are already supplied with.

    Is there such a pot?

    1. I’ve been teaching Facebook Blogs and Marketing for a few years now at the Centre for Continuing Education at University of Sydney. I’m not the only one teaching Social Media and Marketing. Or Social Media and PR. Or Social Media for HR and Recruitment or … you get the picture.

      COI is pretty high – cost of inaction. Not being involved in social media, not employing staff in social media. Think of a company with zero websites and email – then think how their competitors might be using those services. There’s a mining company using wikis, for a start.

      1. I was thinking about something a little more meatier. Sure there are lots of people teaching and writing about SM but I am talking about “arming” employees with arguments and hard core examples that they can show their bosses the benefits without people having to go on a course or employ a SM consultant – give them enough info to be dangerous!

        Neil Perkin wrote in a post last year “the best thing you can do is to recognise that not everyone has been on the same journey as you”

        You are right with the COI point but I think we need to remember that SM isn’t the only thing on the bosses plate and we need to work harder to bring the real pain to the forefront of their mind. That will benefit everyone.

        Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..Why Even Bother Blogging?

        1. Daniel, in the one day course we go through every ROI possible in SM – including time on site increases 5x, visits are up 9x, Cost of acquisition of customer is down to less than $9, increase in brand recall is 6x higher through branded SM over Search engine marketing. Customer service and technical support costs can drop to 1/5th and so on and so forth.

          We go through SM cases that have affected share price – Apple losing 4.6billion off market cap due to one blog post and the need to monitor the social spaces.

          We look at competitors and how their campaigns can be learnt from – tips and tricks to measure the effectiveness of campaigns (competitors or your own). For example, Tube Mogul lets you see the stats of any viral video on pretty well any video site.

          Actually, we cover an awful lot in a one day introduction. 🙂

          In fact, I kinda resent the implication that I don’t take people on a journey – I’ve taught accountants, lawyers, mining industry, doctors/health, even automobile makers. They get the case studies they can relate to, statistics and measurements, quotable quotes and we workshop their pitching and campaigns.

          Not much more I can do other than do it for them. Heh.

          1. Laurel, please understand that I wasn’t implying anything about your course at all. In fact, I knew nothing about it and now I do (and it sounds good, maybe I should go on it and sharpen/focus my knowledge for when I am pitching SM to staff and my bosses).

            I was more implying that “we” as in the collective, anyone that thinks the banning of FB or other SM is bullshit, should have some more handy examples, kinda like a go to library so that when a boss does overact or knee jerk and ban FB then they can say “hey, check this out boss, FB can help us”.

            As a group we can be very powerful.

            I say this not because I think your course is no good but because once the ban has happened, or about to happen, in the workplace, then I don’t think an employee wanting to go on a SM course is going to go down to well (even worse if the employee suggests the boss should go on one!). As such, I was trying to think of another solution.


            Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..Why Even Bother Blogging?

  4. Actually Danial I completely agree with you. In fact, I have to continually re-write the course descriptions (I teach in Malaysia and Singapore too) to get people in the door. Less about what they will learn and more about why they should learn it.

    I wasn’t really miffed. Well not much 😛 I guess if there’s one thing I have worked so hard on, is making sure that I answer real questions with the courses, not the questions we “think” they might have. Real outcomes etc. One of my fave testimonials is the one where 500 people or something did a 1/2 day with me – 90-odd% said they had enough information to go away and immediately implement some SM strategies into their business, and would do so.

    Probably why I focus on that is exactly the reason that you are concerned about – there’s a lot of blue sky merchants, with no business background, no campaigns behind them, no understanding of the issues really facing real people at a practical level. I don’t wanna be lumped with that lot 😀

  5. Interestingly, that 55 per cent matches pretty closely with the research we did about this time last year.
    I wonder what impact the GFC will have had on attitudes since October.

  6. I’ve been asked to present a workshop kind of presentation at a national HR Conference in June in Sydney on exactly this issue. The organizers were at a mini presentation I gave in Adelaide that basically put a rocket up the bum of senior HR execs about this stuff. So I’ve been asked to put an even bigger rocket (a space station?) up some HR Directors at their national gathering.In light of the GFC I too wonder what sort of audience I will be faced with…

    Lee Hopkins’s last blog post..links for 2009-02-27

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