Should Your Firm Ban Facebook?

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Personal Productivity for Lawyers

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Facebook can be an enormous drain on your attention, but it can also be used as a marketing tool for both individuals and your firm. Banning Facebook altogether will create unneeded tension between management and attorneys, and is unlikely to create a boom in productivity.

Lawyers are busy, or at least they should be. If Facebook is causing any employee to miss deadlines, not complete their work, or making them unproductive, the problem is with the employee, not Facebook. Any lawyer who places a priority on status updates over clients is not doing their job. Banning Facebook will just force an unproductive person to find another means of distracting themselves.

For lawyers that actually work, and are quite busy, granting them the freedom to spend five-ten minutes on Facebook seems worth it. Most big firm attorneys work long hours, and have limited social lives, letting them interact on Facebook will probably make them a bit happier, and happy employees are more productive.

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  • Though I agree with your position, at the same time, there are many days that I wish that someone would block my access to social media. It’s easy to discipline myself when I have tight deadlines, but when I’m just working on something that doesn’t have a firm due date, SM can be a distraction and it’s hard to keep myself away. It might be nice, once in while, to have someone do it for me.

    Maybe make Tuesdays and Thursdays no SM days at firms?

  • It probably wouldn’t hurt.

    Firms should also, however, teach employees how to use social media effectively to generate business. Drunk party pics and “Sam Glover is shoveling snow” status updates are not particularly helpful for building a business-generating network. I recently presented to a large local business group on social media policies. The attendees—primarily from firm and business marketing departments—were very interested in encouraging productive use of social media. A good sign.

    A good social media policy and a few well-conducted clinics could make social media a valuable business development tool (as well as a distraction).

  • @Carolyn

    I think that is a good idea, but I am not sure it is practical. What if you want to alert people to breaking news on Tuesday or Thursday? Or if your best friend posts baby pictures on Tuesday?

    By allowing employees access all the time, I would hope people can integrate SM as part of their daily routine, and therefore it should become less of a distraction.

    Or, maybe I am just completely bored with Facebook.

  • Ellen

    As I understand it (and anyone can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on this, because this type of thing changes all the time), it is not technologically possible yet to block FB games, quizzes and other add-on applications without also blocking the more useful features such as posting links to news articles. However, if and when it becomes possible, I could definitely see blocking the games and quizzes, while allowing the actual social networking to continue.