Earlier today I gave a presentation on web 2.0 and social media to a group of IT officials from one of the Canadian provinces. the audience was quite lively and interactive and they shared with me some insights about their experience with social media.
They are amongst the few (see previous post) who do not ban Facebook and other similar sites, nor they actively monitor its usage besides the normal content filtering that take place for Internet access. One interesting nugget was that they found out how important Facebook was to the business when – for some technical reason – it was inaccessible for a day or so. Some senior users in the organization complained that without Facebook they could not complete some important task, for which they have been using the tool for some time. To my reaction that this could have been an excuse as they just wanted to keep accessing it for personal reasons, the client told me that it was a real, mission-critical use involving both internal and external collaboration, but just something that they did not know about.
Tough luck for those who want to ban the use of consumer social media by government employees: the genie may already be out of the bottle. While fighting abuse remains important, preventing use is no longer an option.