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Workplace social networking rises despite lack of guidelines

Workplace social networking rises despite lack of guidelines

41 per cent of employers expect to use Twitter as a business tool in 12 months time

A new report has found employers expect to see an increase in the use of social networking tools despite a lack of IT policies being created around the use of sites like Twitter and Facebook by both staff and management teams.

The report, initiated by IDC and sponsored by Unisys, is the latest in a stream of surveys indicating IT departments are still struggling to create social networking policies. It is based on the responses of 2,820 people worldwide; with 646 IT decision makers, 302 consumer respondents and 60 business respondents from Australia.

The report found 41 per cent of businesses expect to use Twitter for business activities in twelve months from now, compared with 29 per cent using Twitter now. Despite this, 34 per cent of Australian employers surveyed said they do not have guidelines for the use of social media in the workplace compared with 40 per cent worldwide.

Nick Abrahams from Sydney law firm Norton Rose said despite the lack of guidelines, there is an increase in IT departments seeking legal advice on the use of social media.

"More organisations are seeking legal advice to develop social networking policies for proprietary or private social networking systems they use to communicate with customers or vendors," Abrahams said.

Abrahams said companies need to take internal and external factors into account when developing a policy.

"Internally they must be considered within the context of employee relations - so social networking is not used as a tool for bullying or harassment or to invade an employee's privacy. Externally what is said on company Twitter, blog and Facebook sites, and by whom, must also be carefully managed to not only protect company information and the desired positioning of a company's brand, but also because litigators now recognise the value of information on social networking sites," he said.

The report also found opinion is divided between employers and employees on the issue of consumerisation of IT in the workplace.

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Tags social networkingIT policytwittersocial media

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