But, while “fans claim that new social-networking offerings now being developed for the corporate world will create huge benefits for businesses,” many companies remain skeptical. “There is plenty of doubt about the benefits of online social networking in the office. A survey of 1,400 chief information officers conducted last year by Robert Half Technology, a recruitment firm, found that only one-tenth of them gave employees full access to such networks during the day, and that many were blocking Facebook and Twitter altogether.”
Other studies have reached similar conclusions, such as this recent State of Workforce Technology Adoption conducted by Forrester Research. It found that while most enterprises agree that collaboration tools are important for members of a team, - especially if that team is distributed across many locations, - such tools are not widely adopted. e-mail, with 87% adoption, is the default collaboration tool for most people in business.
This is a particular problem for younger workers, who are widely using social media technologies outside of work. The Forrester study found that sixty percent of workers under thirty use social networking at home, but less than one quarter of them - 13% - also use such technologies at work.
Why are so many companies reluctant to embrace social networking? One of the articles in The Economist special report focused on this question - Yammering away at the office: a distraction or a bonus? “An astonishing amount of time is being wasted on investigating the amount of time being wasted on social networks,” it provocatively starts out saying, and then adds: “Studies regularly claim that the use of Twitter, Facebook and other such services poses a threat to corporate wealth.”