Social Networking Within Organisations: Brave New World Or Revolution From Hell?

The Phenomenon of Social Media

The lightning fast rise of social media has triggered businesses to also socially interact with their customers online. Social networking sites such as Social Medicine, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, HI5, LinkedIn, and Neighborhood, have many users that sign up to their services at astonishing rates. Facebook has over 500 million users and is the most popular site accessed, with almost 40% of global Internet users visiting the site in December 2010.

Social media makes it easier than ever to communicate online in real-time. Consumers have the need for information and opinions posted by millions of people. Organisations have taken this level of need and have signed up on many social media services. Some see this new craze of socialising as an opportunity to expand their network of contacts, accelerate business processes, engage with and listen to customers more closely, and even identify and recruit high-caliber employees to socially interact with their online customers.

The New Frontier

Some organisations have not followed suit in this new world of social networking. Approximately 75% of organisations agree that the number of visits their employees were making to social networking sites had increased. About 60% of organisations thought this had damaged productivity; while over 75% of organisations believed corporate reputation could be seriously threatened if staff posted negative comments about their organisations online. Having said this, approximately 70% of organisations want to restrict employee access to all social networking sites.

The large risk already known to most is to see personal identities stolen and corporate networks infected with unwanted malware, as cyber-criminals hijack their social networking access for their own malicious purposes. The real threat are spammers and virus-writers, who set up false profiles, scan through social sites and piece together job titles, phone numbers, and email addresses, and attack corporate networks.

The List Of Sites Goes On

It’s only taken three or four years for this level of social networking to grow and sneak into the business domain. Some reasons for quick growth include mobility such as laptops, working from home and increasing erosion of traditional concepts of office hours. More people are finding their work and home lives blurring and blending into each other.

Research has shown that over 10% of people visit social networking sites for business reasons. This growing trend is reflected in the appearance of an increasing number of business-oriented sites, such as LinkedIn, Viadeo, Huddle and Tradespace, which are all designed to help organisations initiate and strengthen relationships with colleagues, clients, suppliers and partners, wherever they are in the world. Moreover, this is a medium that not only promotes exchange of knowledge, ideas and information, but can also make it an energizing and a rewarding experience.

Normal Business Practice

Social networking can increase team spirit among staff and improving morale, motivation and job satisfaction. However, those skeptical about the value to organisations argue that social networking can easily turn into “not-working” and may even become highly addictive.

When deciding on the social networking policy, the organisation will have to weigh the pros and cons, the risks and benefits in the context of their own particular field of business, their aims, their working practices and their business culture.


All the indications are that social networking is not just a passing fad. The genie is now out of the bottle and has already enticed millions of users. So it will surely be around, in some shape or form, for many years to come. But deploying a proven Web security solution, can help ensure that social networking doesn’t become the revolution from hell.

Social Medicine is a new world of social networking, that promotes exchange of knowledge, ideas and information, making user experience an energizing and a rewarding one. is putting the social back into all things medical. Designed to help individuals dealing with particular illnesses, help share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with others who experience the same condition. It is designed to be a social, fun and a relaxed way to learn and share information. Its emphasis is on connecting people and has all the social networking features and functionality expected. is differentiated from the other medical social networking sites as it primarily focuses on illness sufferers within the health communities. Social Medicine fosters a community support experience, where real people in similar situations come together, to circumvent negative feelings like disconnection and loneliness, and focus on improving self-esteem, understanding, communication, relationships, and peer support. SMM Panel

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