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Why Italians Are Still in the Middle Ages of Social Networking

by Andrea Di Maio  |  March 6, 2012  |  2 Comments

Today’s news in Italy reported (see here) that the Northern Legue party presented a motion to block access to Facebook, Twitter and other social media for all employees of the Lombardia regional government, as well as any controlled company. The motion claims that social media affects employee productivity and creates vulnerability to viruses and malware, let alone the risk of information leakage.

This is not new for Italy, as reported in a previous post. What is new is the tone of people responding to the article, most of which are in favor of such motion.  Here are a few quotes:

As they are not needed for work, but these are for fun pretty much like a videogame or a coffee break, they should be regulated. Or even totally prohibited outside lunch breaks. People are welcome to spend time on Facebook when at home but not on their employer’s payroll, with the risk of sending them bust due to productivity loss.

I do not think that preventing people from wasting time during working hours is crazy, althogh one could leave an open window during the lunch break

People are paid to work and not to spend time on the Net. The prohibition to access the Internet for non-work related stuff should be extended to all civil servants.

All this should have happened long time ago. I’m surprised that people can still do anything like this at work: this does not happen in commercial enterprises, people can go on Facebook when at home after work.

I was amazed to read so many comments supporting such a restrictive view. While a few people invoke a digital agenda as a way to stimulate a struggling economy, it is very possible that the vast majority of Italians get this at all, despite many of them spending time on Facebook. Outside working hours, of course.

Category: social-networks-in-government  

Tags: government-20  italy  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Why Italians Are Still in the Middle Ages of Social Networking


  1. It would be more effective – but LESS popular – to control people work from RESULTS rather than time spent on site.

  2. Max Trudel says:

    I completely agree with Carlo’s comment. However, and it may be strange comming from someone working in e-marketing, I could understand those people’s comments.

    The mentality depends on the actual uses a culture makes of social media. Here in Canada, we started by wasting much time on social networks, which could have justified the ban of those in work environments. However, as the buzz went down, people started using Facebook more intelligently. Posted content contains less spam and people spend less time simply wandering around. Therefore, less time is wasted and the medias can even increase productivity.

    I do not have the complete portrait of the italian market but I believe that the ban could eventualy become less popular as social media habits will evolve, depending which way they go as the can be powerful productivity tools as well as major time wasters.



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