Social Media Cartoon: First Day On The Job Where Social Media Is Blocked

I recently participated in a conversation on LinkedIn entitled “Should Employees Be Allowed To Use Social Media?” in one of the social media groups where I participate.  While the responses where overwhelmingly in favor of not only allowing, but encouraging employees to engage online, I was befuddled by the fact that this question even exists. My response was the following:

In case you’re interested, the active hyperlink to the article mentioned is here.

I understand that everyone can’t sit around and play on Facebook all day, but there are great opportunities for research, competitive intelligence, professional development, and networking when these sites are used correctly. This got me thinking about those poor souls who take social media strategy positions with companies who are still thinking that it’s better to harness their employees by blocking social media sites, rather than educating them on the most effective ways to leverage these tools to do their job. The result was the comic strip below.

Does your employer block access to Facebook and Twitter? It can be tough for a social media professional to convice their conservative employer to change their policy

If you have ever been stuck in the situation, I’d love to hear about it and how you (hopefully) overcame it!

Comments And Reactions

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend my approach, Sean, but teaming up with the CIO–coupled with a few months of nagging, complaining and eye-rolling–worked for me.

    Facebook had been blocked prior to my joining the company because of one employee’s abuse. The CIO and I argued that was a management issue, not a social media issue.

    Having both the top IT and communications execs lobbying the CEO, CFO and General Counsel on an ongoing basis made the difference. We didn’t set up a meeting and make a formal presentation, we just brought it up at every opportunity. Neither of the three would give us a definitive yes, so we took the old-fashioned approach of telling them we were opening access and they should let us know if they had a problem with that. (No one did.)

    Ultimately we unblocked access but didn’t make an internal announcement, and we added social media caveats to the employee handbook. Baby steps…

    The company has made tremendous progress since then. They even have a Facebook page for one of their brands!

  2. I think the key is education. Educate the company on the importance of staying connected and the value that these channels provide by reaching a broader audience.

    • I completely agree, Kimberly! It’s all about helping execs understand the potential value of social media and showing how it can help support the business goals of the organization.

      BTW…I know OT is a big company, but if you happen to know Mark Maturen, tell him Sean Nicholson says “Hi!” He used to be my Livelink sales mgr when I worked for Sprint and Embarq.



  3. J.R. Wirshing says:

    Regardless of whether we discuss social media, new equipment, new software, or new procedures, its ALWAYS about the training (or lack thereof)!

  4. Also depends, are you getting your work done or just playing?

  5. Social media addicts will show withdrawl signs. Any company that resists usage of social media is due to have embarrassments.

  6. Mika Douglas says:

    I think it is fair for company’s to create guidelines regarding social media usage. This is a tough thing to contro and the company would be better serviced it they direct social media use with contest and other perks

  7. Overly controlling corporate culture? Use a smartphone. You can still check your social media sites during the workday. Don’t let a pesky corporate content filter get in your way. Just don’t share company proprietary info.


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