Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
June 26, 2009
Blocking Social Media from Your Employees, Eh? Good Luck With That!
you’ve been in the professional world for very long, you probably remember a
time when it was very controversial for employers to allow their employees
access to a web browser from their office computers.
can’t have my employees surfing the net!” exclaimed the panicky boss. “When
they’re supposed to be completing their reports, they’ll be looking up some
nonsense on that World Wide Web!”
first of all, on the odd chance that you still use these terms, I want to
follow you around for a day just to watch everyone laughing at you. I bet
you’re also worried about the rise of these blasted newsgroups, but lest
anyone call you computer-illiterate, you’ll remind the world how well you
recall your B-minus in Fortran.
back to the matter at hand, your worry over potential distractions from
productivity – all installed on the machines you provided for the
purpose of the proper conduct of work, ironically enough – is nothing new.
Before the Internet, you worried that the dunderheads you hired were sitting
there playing solitaire. Before computers, you were sure they were drawing
unflattering cartoons of you. (Now they use Microsoft Paint to do that.)
now that we’re almost to the end of the first decade of the first century in
the first millennium that starts with a 2, you’re worried about Facebook,
Twitter and MySpace – to the point where you’re listening to these dimwits
who are trying to sell you blocking software.
these people to work!” you explain with indignation. “How can you complete
your sales activity when you’re taking some quiz about which Texas
Wheelers character best represents you?”
boss, I’m Truckie.
are ever-vigilant, aren’t you? The fight against sinister anti-productivity
forces, seeping inside your company’s walls via the very tools that are
supposed to serve your personal mission of nose-to-the-grindstone
work-work-work, is a constant struggle.
at Bob! Is he working on that resource assessment? Or watching his niece’s
video of going to the beach? Look at Beezus! Is she wrapping up the client
contact report? Or commenting on Ahmed’s status update?
you. So very worried.
don’t know if I can save you from driving yourself over the edge, but I’ll
give it a shot. First, try to get your brain around this fact: In today’s
world, everyone is connected to everyone and everything at every moment.
Remember “personal calls at work”? Ha! You thought that was a
problem? The last time you irritated one of your employees, 400 of that
employee’s close personal friends knew about it before you made it back down
the hall to your office.
fact, your wife is on that employee’s friend list. She even made a comment:
“You should see what a mallethead he is at home.”
has happened. It is irreversible, unlike your vasectomy. (Your wife has
filled in the gang about that too.)
the longer you insist on viewing all this as a distraction from work, the
longer you will remain clueless about what work has become. When your
assistant sales director took the quiz titled, “Which Rick Springfield lyric
are you?” – with the result being “I’m going out on the town tonight to get
as wild as I can be/I’m gonna find out what it’s really like to be loose and
wild and free” – she knew full well that one of your most promising
prospective customers is a huge Rick fan, even to the point where he enjoys
referring to himself as a slick continental dude. This is
relationship-building in the 21st Century, bunky. You forbid it
at your peril.
Besides, if you block it from their desktops, they’ll do it with their
Blackberries and their iPhones. They’ll take longer lunches and do it at the
Internet café. You can’t stop it. It will soon consume you!
not trying to scare you, although I will be highly entertained if that
happens. I’m just suggesting that you might switch your focus to output
rather than process. Did you accomplish what I need you to accomplish? Yes?
Swell. If you did so with the help of a video titled “You Too Can Lipsynch
Like Milli Vanilli,” I don’t understand, but I don’t need to.
like that spam-blocker made you miss a lucrative deal because it can’t tell
the difference between junk and legitimate e-mail, you can’t tell the
difference between yesterday and today. I shudder to think how tomorrow will
freak you out.
© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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