Employers put offices in social media pockets

By Cory Brown:

It is a manager’s problem that Henry Ford and even a young Bill Gates never had to deal with – how to maintain productivity when workers are using valuable company time to update their Facebook status or check their Twitter feeds.

A new generation of startup companies say the answer is simple: Make social media a part of employees’ daily work routines with “business social media.”

Unable to beat Facebook and Twitter, they decided to join them.

The movement came into sharp relief last month when Mr. Gates’ Microsoft Corp. announced the $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer Inc., one of the pioneering companies of social networking for corporate use. The 4-year-old California-based company has built up a base of some 200,000 corporate customers, including Ford Motor Co., Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and 7-Eleven Inc., linking them to customers via social media.

As social media sites boom, many businesses are looking to computing clouds, “enterprise social networks” and collaborative software services to connect with customers – and speed up the tempo of activity at the office… Read more

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