Gartner Analysts Decry Facebook, Twitter Bans at Work
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social applications that allow for messaging and collaboration in the workplace should not be banned, argue two Gartner analysts. Though not quite ready for use in enterprise applications, Facebook, Twitter and the others can prove valuable in helping colleagues and customers connect, so long as businesses employ a trust model.Gartner analysts Anthony Bradley and Nikos Drakos say corporations should not ban social applications such as Twitter or social networks such as Facebook and MySpace in the enterprise. Their arguments come after banks such as Credit Suisse Group have stopped their employees from using such tools.
Web collaboration tools are software applications that help users connect with each other to work on projects or to share information. They are key ways for users to leverage the Internet in the enterprise, allowing users to e-mail, send instant messages, set up Web conferences or create shared wiki sites.
Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Connections are examples of these tools tailored for the enterprise. But with 90 million-plus users leveraging Facebook, businesses are increasingly looking at the social network as a business networking tool, the way professionals leverage LinkedIn.
Partly because of this utility in the workplace, Bradley argued that organizations should not shun Web participation for fear of bad behavior.
Instead, they should create a trust model and policies that dictate fair use of Facebook and its cousins, as well as microblogging tools such as Twitter and Plurk. This trust model would include a definition of community and its characteristics, the likelihood of positive and negative behaviors, and a framework for guiding behaviors.
I agree with Bradley. Now, it's disclosure time: My employer, Ziff Davis Enterprise, has a group on Facebook. Most of the eWEEK.com editorial staff has friended one another. Facebook, along with LinkedIn, Twitter and the like, is another way of keeping connected.
I can't imagine our company would ban its use. Of course, we are in the business of disseminating information, and as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fond of saying, Facebook is about sharing information. Why would we ban it?