Enterprises opening up to social networking

More large companies are allowing employees to access social media sites from the office, Gartner says

Enterprises, it seems, are getting a bit more social.

The number of large companies that block employees from accessing social media sites from the workplace is dropping, according to a report released Monday from industry analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner noted that 50% of large organizations blocked social sites in 2010. By 2014, Gartner expects that number to drop to 30%.

"Even in those organizations that block all access to social media, blocks tend not to be complete," said Andrew Walls, a Gartner analyst, in a statement. "Certain departments and processes, such as marketing, require access to external social media, and employees can circumvent blocks by using personal devices such as smartphones."

With employees accessing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest from work, the road or a home office, Walls said enterprises need to pay attention to their employees' and their own social identities.

For instance, what employees post on social networking sites could constitute a risk to the enterprise. Employees could post comments, photos or video on social sites that violate corporate policy or damage its image, the report said. As users liberally posting embarrassing photos and statements on their favorite social networking sites, potential employers are increasingly checking the sites before they make new hires.

"Organizations should not ignore social media and social identity," Walls said.

Social networking companies, meanwhile, are trying to woo business users and bring them and their advertising dollars into the social fold.

Last week, Facebook announced that it was redesigning its corporate Brand pages and including its new Timeline feature. Companies and organizations like Starbucks, Macy's and President Obama's reelection campaign have all updated their Brand pages.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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