According to the Chicago-based human resources firm Challenger Gray & Christmas,  22 percent of social networking websites, like Facebook, are blocked in the workplace. Many of these companies see them as a drain on productivity, and we have witnesocial network site logosssed this first hand.

Social networking websites are filled with games, music, chatting and thousands of friends’ pictures.   Particularly, this is found on sites like MySpace and Facebook.  Yelp, a popular restaurant and business rating website, would also fit into this category of productivity “draining” social networks.

StayClassy.org is a social website with a great twist.  Its dedicated to philanthropic events, and includes a free, searchable database of all U.S. non profits.  It links “do-gooders” to like minded people.

On the other hand, there are “professional networking” sites like LinkedIn and CIOZone.com, a site for IT professionals.

In its poll of 200 HR professionals, Challenger Gray & Christmas also found that 8 percent of companies encourage this kind of professional networking as it could help promote their products and services.

As you can see, a site’s goals and audience can vary substantially.  LinkedIn is a great place to find professionals to network with, or answer a public question for your company’s specialty.  Think of a lawyer answering a general intellectual property question to hundreds of readers, that’s good marketing!!  (ATTENTION LAWYERS, get your disclaimers ready, “this is not to be considered legal advice” or other language is recommended)

So the question that employers needs to ask themselves is, will any of these sites help promote your business?  If not, blocking them, or designating one computer in the office should be taken into consideration.

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