Many companies have already put thought into the use of social media by employees. There’s been an interesting demonstration of different approaches to Twitter – from the world of sport.

I discussed the same subject recently with a group of friends working in different companies. Almost everyone had some kind of limit on what type of sites they could see; youtube, web email sites, blogs, flickr, facebook/myspace, chat tools and wiki all got a mention. The company logic seems to be on the basis of what is a distraction while you’re at work.

Interestingly some companies allow access to facebook seeing it as an important networking tool, and for some sites such as wiki were visible, but it wasn’t possible to contribute.

I’ve been playing with twitter in the last week, and it is work-related (really). I’ve found lots of information via Twitter and uncovered a range of blogs relevant to my job (really). I’ve used wikis, blogs and discussion forums (yes, really) to help with work issues or projects for years. And checked job applicants on networking sites. For me all these sites are tools, and becoming more essential by the day.

So which is it? Will the companies with the conservative policies prove to be more efficient and more profitable? Or will the more open companies prove to acquire more knowledge and be more profitable?

My suspicion is the more open companies will win, not only will they be able to acquire more knowledge but they’ll find it easier to attract talent, particularly young talent.

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