Organisations still don’t get it: Social networking and social sites are reality

by kai on 24/03/2008

Sigh… just recently I’ve learned about another organisation not seeing the reality of social sites actually being useful. The story is a quick one – I’ve invited someone I know to dopplr. In case you don’t know it – it’s a site for (business) travellers to keep track of where your colleagues, friends etc. are, to get information on recommended hotels and other places (recommendations from people in your network and who you trust etc.). The person I’ve invited travels a lot and I’m sure it would be a heck of a useful site as the person also deals a lot with people who travel a lot. Well, the result of the person registering was:


Interesting that the site’s category is “Social networking and Personal sites”. It really should be just one of them -> Social networking and not be blocked.

But it’s not just Sony to be blamed here, it happens all over the place in New Zealand and probably all over the world. Organisations haven’t learned yet that social sites and people using those for things besides wasting time are reality. Instead of embracing the ideas and concepts, employees are plainly locked down and waste their time instead with playing “Hearts” on their Windows computer.

I’ve just recently found another pointer to exactly that being the case in Mike Riverdale’s Enterprise 2.0 blog:

The majority of New Zealand organisations still operate within the “inside/outside” world view. There is “inside” the organisation and there is everyone else “outside”. All the information that I need to do my job should exist inside the organisation … and for company specific info it probably does. But it’s the “all” part of the sentence – a large majority of the work we all done has already been done somewhere else and has been shared either by individuals or by those company’s that have a far more permeable wall around their information.

New Zealand and rest of the world: wake up!

I know of a few more interesting stories – ACC in New Zealand locks down internet access as if there’s no tomorrow. People pretty much aren’t allowed to access anything. Actually – I know a business analyst (who are some sort of extremely hard to find and in demand in Wellington) who has left for particular that reason, she couldn’t stand to not being able to be in touch with anyone, to get a quick piece of information from someone in the person’s network.

The new workplace is at least not that locked down, but the person had to find that she/he had to sit through regular meetings (monthly, about 1 hr long) with her/his team leader to discuss internet usage (Actually he or she left the computer switched on regularly and gmail or twitter were updating the browser window and time-tracking tools created absurd results such as the person was “wasting” 480 hours of work time per month). It’s shocking that the team leader apparently spends about 10-15 hrs per month for this crap to have those talks with everyone, what a waste of taxpayer’s time and money.

Update: At some point I have to write a blog post about un-necessary hierarchies
in (government) organisations – but that’s a totally different ballgame.

Steve Collins from Acidlabs in Australia has written a nice blog post on unblocking corporates, a very recommended read.

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