Companies all across the country are banning Social Media at work. No more tweeting, posting comments on Facebook, or getting in discussions at LinkedIN. Heavy sigh from those addicted to on-line conversation. I’d like to know if this is punishment for the many because of the few? Are people really losing that much productivity time? Or is Social Media simply replacing hallway conversations?
I don’t doubt that a lot of time can be lost in conversations about old Led Zepplin songs and who exercised this morning, but that’s not my issue. I’m questioning the ban approach. I believe that if you want something to really have renewed power, then tell people they can’t do it. Here’s an example. Years ago, there was a singer named John Denver (some of you old folks might remember him). If you ever saw John perform in the early years, he generally performed on a round stage that was in the middle of the audience. He liked being close to the people, and those on the front row could have reached out and touched the stage. After one concert his agent (or a security company needing work) convinced him of the dangers of this approach and placed body guards around the stage for his next concert. Prior to the body guards, not one audience member tried to get on stage. On the night of the concert that included body guards, they had over forty people try to get on stage. Why? Because they knew getting on stage was “banned,” and suddenly they had a HUGE need to jump up there.
Here’s a personal example. As an eight year old taking piano lessons I had a bad habit of banging the keys when I couldn’t get a song right (little bit of a temper problem). My mom would yell from the kitchen “Donna Lee, get off the piano. And if I hear you hit one more key, you’re in big trouble.” Well, she said if she listened carefully she could hear the very, very, very soft sound of the highest key being pushed down as gently as possible. I did it every time. Why? Because mom told me I couldn’t.
Tell people they can’t, and they’ll find new ways to do it. Social Media is not going away, so learn to live with it in a civil manner. That’s my thought. . .what’s yours?