Social Networking More Popular With Adults Than Previously Thought

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Blogging began as personal online diaries and has now evolved into all-encompassing social networking sites. Such sites, which combine and take maximum advantage of chat and multi-media technology as well as blogging concepts, now constitute a virtual—and exploding— online revolution. The downside? They create major time wasters for employers whose employees can't resist the allure of just one more entry. As a result, filtering and monitoring social networking activity is now imperative—not just to conserve bandwidth and increase workforce productivity but to protect companies’ reputations and intellectual property. Addressing this issue, Wavecrest Computing strongly recommends that social networking be addressed in employee conduct initiatives, including network usage policies and related monitoring programs.

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Pretty much anyone, any age range, who frequents social networking sites does so from work—unless access is restricted. And the first step to restricting access is identification through proper categorization.

Wavecrest Computing in Melbourne, Florida, recognizing the ever increasing popularity of MySpace and other social networking sites – Friendster, Flickr, TagWorld and Facebook to name a few – created a “Social Networking” category in their URL database to better identify and highlight these frequented work distractions for their customers.

Underscoring the scope of the social networking phenomenon, Google named MySpace the top gainer for places to visit on the Internet in ’05, only two years after it was founded. It recently topped Yahoo Mail as the most-visited Web site in the U.S. What started as a site for aspiring musicians and bands to share their music and concert locations quickly became the number one spot to connect with others for everything from making new friends, to dating, to professional networking.

If record label companies view MySpace as an indispensable stop for record labels seeking to promote a new band, companies that wish to increase their workforce productivity and better utilize their bandwidth should recognize the need to manage access to Social Networking sites

Many think social networking sites are just a place for teens to hang out. Not true. A larger, growing number of adults frequent MySpace because it is an easy, quick way to keep in touch with current friends and family, find old friends and classmates, and listen to new music on a daily basis.

With 80 million registered users worldwide and the world’s 73rd most-visited website, many of these visits obviously occur during business hours. Today, an estimated 130,000 new members join the site every day, totaling 3 million new members per month. The recent Nine Inch Nails release alone resulted in a half-million user streams in one week. And judging by the above statistics, a very large portion of these streams had to have occurred at work – a lot, all day long.

Negative banter about companies on MySpace produces postings from employees who slam not only managers and co-workers, but customers. To preclude such negative publicity, Wavecrest encourages companies to clearly define social networking in their employee conduct code as it relates to their company to protect themselves and their intellectual property.

A continual increase in traffic to social networking sites mandated a separate category in Wavecrest’s URL control list. “These heavily trafficked sites have fast become a major productivity drainer for our customers,” said Dennis McCabe of Wavecrest Computing. “Pretty much anyone, any age range, who frequents social networking sites does so from work—unless access is restricted. And the first step to restricting access is identification through proper categorization.”

About Wavecrest Computing:

Since 1996, Wavecrest Computing has provided business and government clients with reliable, accurate Web use management software. Business managers, HR professionals and IT personnel trust Wavecrest’s CyBlock and Cyfin software solutions to help manage employee Internet use, prevent Web abuse, minimize legal liability risks, optimize bandwidth usage and improve workforce productivity. Wavecrest software is installed in over 3,000 organizations worldwide including the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, Volvo, General Electric, British Telecom, Edward Jones, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and a growing list of others. Wavecrest Computing is a GSA Schedule Contractor.



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Dennis Mccabe
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