Facebook was banned on our corporate LAN, the reason being that it was taking up too much bandwidth, with people spending an inordinate amount of time on it, playing games and what not. What was forgotten is that in a company that wants to promote data traffic and be on top of Web 2.0, facebooking is as inevitable as sms’ing. What is needed is not the ban but more the education of what is and isn’t appropriate use of corporate internet connections.
Now the government has banned facebook in Bangladesh. Ask me why and there’s 2 different reasons that I have heard of so far. One is that Muslim countries are banning facebook because of the “Draw Muhammad (SAW)” competitions that’s being promoted by some pages, and the other is the publishing of caricatures and photo-shopped nude pictures of the two leading political party leaders of Bangladesh.
I remember a time not too long ago, when the mobile phone operators were told to shut down their network temporarily in order to curb protest activities and enable the government to round up the dissident people. Did that really stop the people who took to the streets to protest what they perceived as unjust action by the government? No. Without mobile phone network, coordinating between different cells was harder, yes, but still not impossible.
In a time where technology connects us faster and more intricately to the world around us, information handling is becoming an art in itself.
How much information do you want to share? How do you assess what’s already there? how to keep a track on the information that is going around without appearing to be snooping or spying on the people? and in other instance, how do you separate the rumors from the facts?
Interesting dilemma? definitely yes. So how do we handle it?
Each company has its own policy in place on how to handle confidential information, how to classify information as confidential or otherwise, what to do in case of loss or theft of information etc. As corporate citizens it is the individual’s responsibility to be aware of what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to information handling. The following site has a comprehensible checklist of responsible information handling that can be customized to fit different corporate environments: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs12-infohandling.htm
On a personal level, most people have a built-in indicator of how much personal information they want to share. Some stop after sharing their name and some just go all the way out and share everything, whether its relevant or not. What the 2nd group doesn’t realize is that some of these innocuous information can be misinterpreted or taken out of context and be portrayed as something else entirely.
Personally I champion common sense and its application, whether its about facebooking from work or having relaxed conversations around the lunch table. Share official or work related information on a need to know basis and on a personal level ask yourself often if what you are sharing is just “too much information” and can it come back to “bite you in the ass” when you are least expecting it.
Learning by trial and error is how most of us figure out the intricacies of corporate behavior. Moderation and the willingness to adapt and changes then become the key indicators of success.