Why blocking social media is not the answer


Why blocking social media is not the answer

Image: pixabay.com

I am a strong proponent of open access to social media. I feel the decision to block staff access to e.g. LinkedIn or YouTube is often ill-advised, and it’s not beneficial to organisations in the long run.

Many times I’ve heard the following reasons for restricting social media usage at work: “We don’t want our staff to be distracted.” And: “They shouldn’t waste their time on social media.” Other reasons may include perceived cyber risks or the cost of excess data usage.

Sending out the wrong message

Any organisation that blocks social media sites may send out one or more of the following messages:

  1. We don’t really understand what social media is all about
  2. We don’t trust our staff
  3. Even though consumers are using social media for health purposes, we’re not interested

Admittedly, this is probably unintentional. In most cases decision makers are probably unfamiliar with social media and may see it as a threat.

Why staff should have access

Here are five reasons why health care staff should have access to LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs etc…

  1. Social networks are powerful learning tools for staff
  2. Social media are increasingly used as health promotion tools (e.g. embedded YouTube videos)
  3. Shared knowledge accessible via social media will assist staff in finding answers and making better decisions
  4. Interactions with peers and thought leaders increases work satisfaction (and will contribute to staff retention)
  5. Participating in social media and other new technologies will raise the (inter)national profile of an organisation

The benefits outweigh the risks

The benefits clearly outweigh the risks, such as increased data usage. When it comes to cyber security, I believe there are alternatives that are more effective than blocking social media access, such as upgrading outdated operating systems, updating antivirus software, improving backup procedures, clever password management and online safety training for staff.

And finally, a simple social media staff policy goes a long way.



6 thoughts on “Why blocking social media is not the answer

  1. you’ve raised some very valid points and I hope in the near future, more companies will start opening up and considering the impact of social media, even if it’s just a welcomed ‘distraction’.
    thankfully I practice in the online marketing field and there’s simply no way any online marketing company can block SM sites/platforms 🙂


  2. I couldn’t agree more Edwin – particularly the points you raise about the message this sends out about an organization. The healthcare conversations that matter are increasingly moving online. To quote Farris Timimi, M.D., medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media: “This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job. This is a conversation, and that is what we are trained to do … This is where our patients are these days and this is where we need to reach them. We can engage learners, patients and peers, and we are not limited by geography or time”

    Liked by 1 person

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