If employers don’t improve access to social tools, employees will find an end around

"Clay Shirky" by Elliottng on Flickr

This week, in preparation for today’s presentation to the Networking and Information Technology Association, I read a recap of Clay Shirky comments from the Gartner Symposium, which took place in Orlando this past weekend. The crux of his comments was that if organizations resist giving their employees access to social media tools, two things will happen:

  1. Their employees will find another way (e.g. accessing Facebook via smartphone), just like employees of the mid-90’s made an end-around on employers who were slow to provide them with email access, and
  2. They will lose the chance to use social media strategically and instead will have to deal with fragmented, ad-hoc use throughout the organization.

Shirky added that it was up to IT professionals (like the group I’ll be speaking with today) to change this:

Social media is being dragged into the business environment right now. It will fall to the IT department—like it always does—to render these social threats and opportunities into something strategic.

While I disagree with the fact that IT should “own” social media (I think that’s the job of the marketing/communication department, assuming the organization’s social media strategy is customer-facing), I absolutely agree that IT has to be intimately involved in deciding how employee access will be delivered. As I’ll say in my comments today, if IT doesn’t figure out a way to make it work, the rest of the organization will figure it out own their own. And if you don’t think access to social tools is important to the organization’s employees, read this.

Hat tip on the ZDNet article about Shirky’s speech: Gavin Heaton
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One Response to If employers don’t improve access to social tools, employees will find an end around

  1. Tammy Davis says:

    Once again, well said.

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