Social Networking at Work a No-No No More

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social networkingThere was a time when you had to surreptitiously hold your Blackberry or smartphone under your desk or run to the bathroom if you wanted to Tweet or check your Facebook page at work. But with employers today realizing that Tweets and "likes" are becoming more beneficial to business, more workers are allowed to come out of the social networking closet.

New research conducted by Robert Half found that slightly more than half (51 percent) of chief information officers surveyed said that they permit employees to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook on the job, as long as it's for business purposes. This is up from 19 percent in 2009.

"Companies recognize the value of using social media for brand building, whether it's marketing a product, offering customer service, gathering information, or simply listening to what fans and followers have to say," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

Reed noted, however, that companies draw the line at workers' excessive personal use of social media. "Employees need to become familiar with their companies' policies on Web use and adhere to them," Reed said.

Robert Half Technology offers four tips for using social media sites in the workplace:

  1. Know the rules. Make sure you're clear about what type of social networking use is permitted within your organization.
  2. Exercise discretion. Never share sensitive or confidential company information or post negative comments about your employer, or current or potential clients and customers.
  3. Get the scoop. If permissible, use social media sites at work to connect with customers and clients, follow thought leaders in your field or gather industry news.
  4. Play it safe. If you use social media on behalf of your company, make sure you protect your feeds by creating secure passwords, refraining from clicking on questionable links and limiting access to select employees.
Be aware that while some firms may be more open to the business applications of social media, more than one out of three (31 percent) organizations still prohibit it completely at the office.
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