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Are you allowed to use social networking at Work?

I was reading this article about internet usage by staff who work for local authorities in Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16394916 The content and context of the article seem to imply that Council staff are wasting time surfing the internet and social networking sites like twitter and Facebook instead of working. In my opinion the stance of the Tax Payers alliance in the article seems a little over the top but not wanting to get to involved in the politics involved in this article it did get me thinking about people and their employers and the internet usage policy’s in place. I have worked in places where the internet usage has been actively encouraged and I have worked in places where it has been quite severely restricted.

The most popular site for Cardiff Council was Google, no real shock here and this should come as no surprise to anyone, if you have job that requires the use of the internet then there is a fair chance that Google will be one of the most popular and frequent sites that you visit, for many people including me, Google is the  search engine of choice.

Then they move onto Social networking, and the article implies that using such sites during work is pretty a waste of Money.  The local authorities main defence is that their employees are allowed to use the internet for personal use during breaks such as lunch, which seems fair enough too.  I don’t use Facebook but I do frequent twitter which I think is a great tool. For the technical folk out there it can also be a great resource for finding answers to tricky questions, If you post a question and mark the post with the #sqlhelp hash tag on twitter then you will get a whole bunch of clever people try to help you answer your question. You are getting help from some really smart people almost instantly from around the world. It can be a great way for both business and government to interact with their clients and citizens. The UK Prime Minister through @Number10gov  has a twitter account and quite a lot of leading political figures including the President of USA has a twitter account and I believe social media in the form of facebook and twitter was key part of Barack Obhamelection campaign back in 2008.

So even though I can  understand how some employers and maybe the tax payers alliance don’t like social networking sites or the internet in general as they see it as a time sink for their employees, those business, governments and organisations that embrace it have had a great deal of success.

I was going to run a straw poll for a Friday see how other people’s employers view the internet, then I realised that if you are reading this blog then they probably have quite an open when it comes to the use of the internet :-) but still I’m keen to hear your thoughts and opinions…  


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