A report by the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) has called on public sector IT managers to embrace social media in order to communicate with an increasingly web-savvy audience.
The report, Social media: why ICT management should lead their organisations to embrace it, said that ignoring the use of sites like Facebook and Twitter is akin to ignoring the advent of the telephone at the start of the 19th century.
However, the majority of IT managers surveyed about the use of social media said that they are still averse to providing employees with access to social networking sites for a variety of reasons.
Almost 90 per cent restrict access in some way, while around 67 per cent restrict all access. A small number of respondents allow workers access during lunch breaks and out of office hours.
The main reason for blocking access is security, and 63 per cent indicated that they fear such sites could lead to attacks such as remote code execution or SQL injection.
A further 56 per cent said that system or data compromise is a key risk, while 35 per cent are worried about network bandwidth strains.
However, the report claimed that sites like Facebook and Twitter are the communication channel of choice for many users, and that IT managers need to be aware of the growing importance of allowing access.
"The enormous growth of social networking and publishing platforms, and the consumer participation that they generate, forces organisations to re-evaluate their business strategies," it said.
The report also looked at organisations that Socitm believes have demonstrated the correct way to use social media, such as Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Newcastle City Council.
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