Srsly – how CAN I use social media at WORK

It’s all very well posting slides about using social media in your work, the shifting boundaries between work and play so that you can be online 24/7 and work the 28hr day etc. And here I am, and I can’t use Social Media when working with a particular client.

Working within a large Corporation with a corporate policy that uses Internet explorer (disaster) and arbitrarily locks me out of sites like Gmail, Slideshare, but lets me access Twitter, and Facebook (!) means I have to change the way I interact online, I have no firefox, tweetdeck or my RSS feed, because I don’t have admin access to the work laptop.  I gave a post grad lecture recently on Social Media in Publishing at RMIT University, and here I am, screwed!  I can’t practice what I preach because…. I don’t know how in a corporate environment.  That and I always feel vaguely insulted when a company dictates what I can and can’t access online.  I’m not at school.

Yes, yes, I can use my phone,  but it’s hard on the phone too, the day job is busy and I don’t have time to fiddle about with links and various apps (no I don’t have an iPhone).  Outcome?  For some days I’m locked out unless I work very hard at it, cut off from what’s going on in a bubble wrapped corporate environment (the biscuits are nice though).   websense_blocked

Aside from the fact that not being able to interact with the outside world is bad for business (where are you going to get your new ideas and innovation from – the boardroom?), there is also no guiding rationale as to which sites can and can’t be used, a situation which is mirrored in many companies as they try and grapple with social media policies.

This is not about time wasting, it is about artificial regulations which assumes that peoples lives stop when they enter the office.  In fact it is detrimental to productivity and motivation.  Worse still it sends a message that employees aren’t to be trusted which makes me grumpy.  The companies who are staying ahead are removing the blocks and allowing their employees to engage online.

It is a timely reminder for me — not everyone has as ready access to what I consider to be normal communication channels.  Sometimes people who are on the social networks have had to make a real effort to get there.

I was curious as to the rational behind why these sorts of sites are blocked. Clicking on the ‘more information’ link gave me this illuminating response:

websense_blocked_why

Well that explains it!