Social Media In The WorkplaceSeptember 26th, 2008 by Mike
Those of you who follow me on Plurk or Twitter probably saw my rants recently about the corporate decision to block Plurk.com on our network at the office. While nothing was officially passed down, I am sure they felt it would help those of us who use it be “more productive” with our day. The irony of this change is that the decision to block Plurk came shortly after the return of (The Gypsy) David Harry’s SEO Plurkshop; a clique which I frequently reference and pass on links from at the office. I can understand blocking social sites like Plurk from departments that don’t NEED social media, but does it make sense to block something like Plurk from website marketers?
I get that social media isn’t always a business venture, and I know that those of us in the office that were using Plurk were not doing so on a strictly business basis. I’ll be the first to admit that my use of Plurk was not always for the harvesting SEO information and news. However, the time spent on Plurk outside of those tasks was used to develop relationships with others in the industry. Relationships that have often provided me with useful and relevant information related to my work here in the office.
I think the problem is that most people still don’t understand social media and the value in it. Sure there is A LOT of random banter and back and forth on social networks, but those interactions are what build relationships. And out of those relationships you build a network of people who share their knowledge, their information, and their thoughts on subjects that in many cases may inspire your work or even give you a new idea or concept you might have never considered.
When the threat of a plurkless office was brought up a few months back I quickly tried to show the value in social media by openly passing on links and information from social sites that I felt would benefit my colleagues and our clients that I found on sites like Plurk and Twitter. I would share links 2, 3, sometimes even 4 times a day with information that was relevant to the work we do. These articles and ideas all came from social media and I would not have been aware of them had it not been for these sites. There is always someone else out there who follows different people, reads different blogs, or has their own SEO experiences to share, many of which will never show up in your reader or during your personal research.
I feel that social media and website marketing go hand in hand. I am a strong believer that social media can change the way businesses interact with the general public and other businesses in ways never imagined. I also believe that the diversity of ideas, points of view, and information provided on social networks is a great way to help businesses and marketers alike stay on top of their industry and build a network of resources often lost in the sea of information on the internet. Sure, social media might take a few minutes away from client work off and on throughout the day, but I think that the overall rewards outweigh those few minutes of “productivity” that are lost. By blocking sites like Plurk in a marketing environment you are separating yourself from another avenue of valuable information that might not only benefit your employees, but often your clients.
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