Why Businesses Should Embrace Social Networks

Daily Mail (London), April 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

Why Businesses Should Embrace Social Networks


Byline: David Lavenda

MEMO to all employees: 'As of today, telephone, email and all printedmatter like newspapers, magazines, books will not be tolerated at work.' Isthis what we can expect from our employers? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Butmaybe it's not so far-fetched at all.

Well let's look at it from another angle. A 2007 UK survey found thatapproximately 70pc of British businesses restrict or ban Facebook and similarnetworks at work. That's right - 70pc.

Who cares, you say? Well, the UK has the second highest percentage of Facebookusers in the world, and London has the most Facebook users of any city in theworld, so this ban apparently affects a whole lot of folks.

But is it working? ROFL (that's rolling on the floor laughing for those overthe age of 30). That's because resourceful workers find easy ways to circumventthese restrictions.

In fact a study from the researchers at Yankee Group shows 86pc of employeesare using consumer technology at work.

And many of these are social networking sites like Facebook.

In much the same way that the printing press democratised literacy and spawnedthe industrial revolution and the Reformation, today's social networkingtsunami is spawning an information revolution that will change the way we dobusiness.

And just as literate people opposed the democratisation of literacy in the1400s, some of today's business leaders are now trying to stem the tide ofsocial networking literacy.

To these folks I say: 'Resistance is futile.' Why don't you figure out how toleverage social networking to beat your competitors? Think what you could do ifyour people could find colleagues, partners, customers, and experts by usingFacebook.

You can't even start to imagine where this will go.

But think about what you could do with a grassroots knowledge management systemthat really works, easily finding an expert in a 50,000-employee company, whohas an answer to your question about a very specific business problem..

Or for that matter you could instantly build a partner network without havingto buy and deploy a complex software solution. …

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