16 February 2010
The Impact of Social Networks in the Workplace
Business and Employment
A. Presentation of the issue The issue I am going to address is going to be about whether Social Networks have a negative impact in the workplace. Some people would argue that some people spend too much time on social networks such as Facebook at work and this is detrimental to their productivity and can lead to them being fired as a result however other people would say that banning social networks at work is a breach of their rights and it is their private information which they should be access whenever they like.
B. I.T Background of the issue The I.T System that I am going to be looking at is the social networking sites. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have become popular all over the world and have enabled people to post about all aspects of their lives. It can enable you to meet people that you don’t know or have not seen in many years. It also means you can keep track of what your friends and even celebrities are doing by status updates. Social networking began as a concept at IBM in 1978 where they wanted a computerised office cork board it was called CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System) (Maclife,2009) However although social networks did continue to develop throughout the next twenty years Myspace was the first successful social network to really take off and stay popular but by this time Facebook was coming onto the scene and soon after Twitter joined. Therefore the popularity of social networks has only happened recently within the last 5-10 years. So the trend for social networks started low in popularity and has grown exponentially and doesn’t show much signs of slowing down. This popularity has led to some people getting addicted to social networking sites and constantly checking them even when they are at work which is where there is an issue that needs addressing.
C. The Impact of the Issue Most workplaces are banning social network sites from the workplace for a number of reasons. The primary reason is the business can stop viruses and spyware from affecting the work computers and the secondary reason that the employer will lose some productivity from the workers (Barracuda, 2007). However it is not all black and white for the employers because some social networks can be used effectively by businesses to inform the employees about important company information. Some businesses have fired employees about remarks made about the company just last year a girl in Essex Kimberly Swann was fired for “describing her office job as ‘boring’”(BBC News, 2009) This has led to many discussions as to whether it is right for companies to hassle employees outside of work.
The general consensus seems to be that in work you shouldnâ€™t go on social networks because the employee are using the companyâ€™s equipment and they have the right to control what they do with the computers on the internet.
D. Solutions of the Issue I think that there are a couple of solutions to the problem. Firstly the business could implement a fair policy which filters all of the social networking sites from the computers in work. I think that because it is the companyâ€™s equipment then they have every right to use a I.T policy which is an easily implementable set of rules to the fair use of the computers in the workplace. I think that this is certainly a viable solution because it is one which many companies all over the world are already utilising and have very successful and productive employees. The main issue with this solution is that the employees can feel mistreated and it makes the job all work and no play and this could also have a negative impact on productivity. Another solution that I have thought of is a more employee related one where the employees have a certain time period during the day such as their lunch hour for example where the restrictions are lifted and they can go on social networking websites during that time. This solution does mean that the employees will be happier and possibly be more dynamic in their work. The issue with this solution is that not only would be a little difficult to police some people will have lunch at different times or have to work over lunch meaning that they cannot use their lunch hour as a break to visit social networks. This can lead to unhappiness for the other workers and it is not a fair system. In my opinion the first solution is the best one because it is the fairest and the easiest for the company to implement.
Bibliography Michael Simon. (2009) The Complete History of Social Networking -- CBBS to Twitter [internet] available from
http://www.maclife.com/article/feature/complete_history_social_networking_cbbs_twit ter?page=0%2C1 [accessed 18th February 2010] BBC News (2009) Facebook remark teenager is fired [internet], Available From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/7914415.stm [accessed 18th February 2010] David Kelleher (2009) 5 Problems of Social Networking in the Workplace [internet] Available From: http://www.informationmanagement.com/specialreports/2009_165/social_networking_media-10016208-1.html [accessed 18th February 2010]