But when a company best known for printers and copiers starts spruiking the business benefits of sites such as Facebook and MySpace, it might be worth another look.
Konica Minolta says its recent survey showed 27 percent of managers think social networking sites have a role to play in Australian workplaces.
There's no indication of how many respondents there were or how they were chosen, so even if you accept Konica Minolta as a neutral party as far as this topic is concerned, a pinch of salt is still called for when pondering the significance of these results. With that caveat, we'll take them at face value for now.
You might expect younger managers to be keener on social networking than their older colleagues, and that's what the survey found. 33 percent of under 40s favoured the use of such sites, compared with only 16 percent of their more mature colleagues.
It may be true that, as Konica Minolta claims, iconic Australian brands such as Tim Tams and Vegemite are represented on social networking sites, but so what? Where's the evidence that it's doing them any good? The company's curiously silent on that point.
What about social networking as an internal communication tool? Please read on.
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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.