European CIOs are shunning the benefits of social media for business. I am concerned that as a result, CIOs risk alienating customers, creating ineffective marketing strategies, demotivating staff and eliminating their competitive edge by not embracing social media.
A recent study indicated that 67% of European CIOs and IT Directors said they block Facebook. 60% block YouTube. 49% block Twitter, and 56% block all online video.
This threatens to create a chasm between old ways and new methods. Justin Fielder, Easynet CTO, noted that "this isn't just about attracting and retaining young talent, it's about how best to create a dialogue with, and retain, your customers."
"Social media is oxygen to anyone under 30 and it's vital for communication, education and information. It has huge implications on business success," said Fielder. "Business leaders - usually Generation X - have to understand this or they will find the future of their business in jeopardy."
It seems that European CIOs have some catching up to do. I believe that this is particularly true in light of Microsoft's recent purchase of business social networking site Yammer, which demonstrates the importance of social networking in the workplace.
Many of the anticipated challenges caused by employee usage of social media such as its impact on the corporate network have been solved. Some might be concerned about the blurring of the network edge when staff want to use their own devices to access social media - yet with a few simple precautions, potential issues are resolved without the need for drastic measures like blocking social media access.
It's time for CIOs to look again at their policies in this area.