Let’s block social media in the office

Filed under: Contributed Column,Print,Technology | Tags:, ,

Two weeks ago I took the drastic step of blocking Facebook in my office. Well, it’s an office of one, so really what I’m saying is that I’ve stopped using Facebook during the day. However, since then the changes in productivity and mood are so dramatic that I wanted to share my findings with you.

Here are the top five reasons I think Facebook should be blocked in every office:

Facebook acts like booze. I’m not kidding here, if you allow Facebook in the office, you might as well hand out free beer. Facebook flips the switch in your employees’ heads from “work” to “social” and I can promise you that as soon as they get on that website, they forget instantly what they are supposed to be doing for you.

Facebook is a drug. Well, not literally, but it acts like one. First your employees try a little, then they get bored so you try a little more, and pretty soon they crave it day and night and can’t get off of it. Then they’re trying to convince you that it’s OK to do it at work. Seriously, many people wake up in the middle of the night to get a Facebook fix.

Facebook is not a business tool. Sure, your Facebook-addicted employees will swear up and down about the virtues of Facebook for business. But, unless your company is marketing to teens and very young adults, Facebook is not going to do anything for you. I’ve measured results from several companies and — sad to say, these are the facts, dudes.

Facebook makes employees feel busy. There’s a lot of stuff on Facebook designed to keep visitors busy. There are feeds to read, walls to comment on, articles to read — WHEW! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. However, it’s action without effect. If you picture a toddler playing with a busy board, spinning dials and pushing buttons, that’s what Facebook is for business.

Employees are happier without Facebook. The dialogue on Facebook is designed to upset people. The more outlandish and controversial the content, the more activity the publisher receives. So when your employees are hanging out on Facebook, they’re reading pure vitriol about politics, religion, civil rights, history and child-rearing. They come away from the computer upset and angry about pretty much everything they care about. And then they start talking to your customers. Awesome.

I know it’s controversial to come out against Facebook as a business tool, but I can tell you this: As soon as I stopped hanging out with my busy board all day and refocused on what it actually is that I do for a living, my productivity increased by something like 1,000 percent. Revenue is up, my client roster is healthier, and I actually have some emotional reserves left to be nice to my clients.

So here’s a case in point: I just logged onto Facebook to see how many posts I’ve missed since logging off because I wanted to add the number to this column. But it took me a half-hour to do that because I was sucked back into it. I now know that my nieces have been in a fight, Mitt Romney misquoted himself again, and that Daniel Tosh posted a funny picture in his blog. And I’ll never get that time back. Can you hear the money rolling in now?

Oh by the way, I missed 156 posts while I was away. Well, I wouldn’t say I “missed” them…

Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a web consulting firm in Baltimore. Reach her at marci@mdvinteractive.com.

2 Responses to Let’s block social media in the office

  1. How 1970′s of you. Do you give all of your employees access to a telephone or the internet during the day, or do they simply punch the time clock and stand on the production line until the steam whistle blows? Have a social media policy similar to a personal phone call policy and enforce it. Your employees can be your best spokespersons and can use Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites to find threats and opportunities for your business through their contacts. Of course the headline misrepresents your argument…you’re just blocking Facebook, not all social media, right?

    MikeP
    October 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

  2. I agree with Mike. Banning will simply encourage anger and may be even hacking. Instead use an application that allows you to regulate content. For example, I haven’t banned my kids from using computers but instlalled a free app called Qustodio so that I can regulate much of what they do on the web. Blocking sites, watching what they download or who they talk to on Facebook and things like that and that keeps them off the harm’s way. In this age, banning isn’t the solution, regulation is.

    Patmilton
    October 19, 2012 at 12:01 am