In the business technology section of the Wall Street Journal blog, Ben Worthen posted a blog about Bill Gates – Microsoft’s Chairman – stopping his use of his Facebook account. The question is – what message does that send? The WSJ Blog is linked here.
Review: Beyond the obvious issue, receiving a lot of press, related to teens – children and predators – the larger question is adult usage and consequences that might follow. Computerworld posted a great article on The Pitfalls of Social Networking.
The summary is listed below:
- Too much Bandwidth usage. Downloading and storing these files can cripple your infrastructure and make capacity planning virtually impossible.
- Potential Legal Liability. Should employees use corporate IT resources for purposes of posting dissatisfaction with others, the company could be held responsible in any ensuing litigation.
- Exposure to Malware. These networks are potential vehicles for introducing viruses, worms and spyware.
- Decreased Employee Productivity. Even when networking is used for business purposes, corporations may want to limit the number of networks employees use. Monitoring many networks can become incredibly time-consuming. Moreover, interfaces among current networks don’t support robust information-sharing.
- Disclosure of Personal Information. Companies regularly search MySpace, Classmates.com, LinkedIn and other social networking sites to glean information about potential hires and competitors.
- Risk of Leaking Corporate Secrets. Companies often sanction social networking for the purpose of exchanging professional information. But take great care to protect corporate secrets. Definitions of secret may vary or be misunderstood, and critical information may inadvertently be revealed.
- Limited Executive Use. Executive use of social networking is not widespread, however. Many executives already have substantial personal networks and rely less on new technological platforms for interaction.
According the WSJ blog – “Workers who created profiles on Facebook are horrified to find out they can’t be erased, the New York Times reports. Even if you deactivate your account, Facebook still keeps a copy of all the information you ever posted. And, the Times reports, it’s still possible to contact people through deleted Facebook pages.”
So What’s the Bill Gates Angle? According an article in The Sun:
The computer mogul got so hooked on the social networking site that he splashed out £120million on a 1.6 per cent stake in it last year.
Bill, 52, spent 30 minutes daily catching up with pals.
But he signed off after getting more than 8,000 friend requests a DAY, and spotted weird fan sites about him.
A colleague said: “Sadly the attention does mean Bill has had to close the account which got him so hooked in the first place.”
As a business ethics and teen ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com), I routinely talk with parents about the pitfalls and dangers of social networking through MySpace – Facebook, etc. While I think social networking is the way of the future, especially among young people, it is important for parents to understand the dynamic change when it comes to child – teen safety. Likewise, it is critical for business people to better understand the issues that come with security and corporate ethics and responsibility.
Have you had an experience with social networking that you’d want to share?
Should parents know more about MySpace and Facebook?
What pitfalls do you see for employees involved in Facebook or MySpace?
Comments are welcome!