Recognizing the Value of Social Media in the Workplace

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As with most cultural phenomenon, social media has grown much faster than companies’ policies about the use of those media in the workplace.

Many companies still maintain that social media use reduces productivity, jeopardizes the security of the company’s computer systems, makes proprietary information more vulnerable and chokes the bandwidth of the company’s Internet connection.

These are obviously not the fears of the U.S. Department of Defense—and its three million employees must be very productive and highly secure and invulnerable. The new policy it put into effect during March 2010 embraces the value of social media. All DoD employees have permission to be active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and forums.

A Pentagon official involved in the social media policy said, “It’s not about controlling the message. It’s about giving people as much information, resources and facts as possible.”

According to one social media expert, as much as 25% of U.S. companies forbid their employees to use social media in the workplace, so the Department of Defense’s forward-thinking policy is a surprise to many.

The same expert thinks that companies should learn to trust their employees more when it comes to social media. Employers must realize that social media is a mainstream communication tool.

The expert also advised employees that work for companies that don’t allow social media use in the workplace to look for new jobs at companies that do, since any company that is not using social media as a sales and marketing tool is destined to fail in a few years.

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