Many of you know that I’ve been a pretty early adopter of many of the social media. I keep exploring how to use each one and watch for how to use it in business. I see marketers who wish to use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to reach prospective buyers. I’m sitting in the training center at GE Aviation in suburban Cincinnati right now. Checking email, saw I have a new follower on Twitter. Clicked to investigate and follow back. Here is the error message. Think about this problem as you develop marketing social media plans. (I removed the sender’s name.)
The following error has occurred: policy_denied:
Your system policy has denied access to the requested URL.
Page requested: http://twitter.com/?utm_content=profile&utm_source=follow&utm_campaign=twitter20080331162631&utm_medium=email
Not surprising. I have a client who couldn’t access my web site to download software updates because it was considered "a blog," which are all blocked by corporate firewall rule. It’s classic fear and ignorance, but your point is well taken. The attitudes (and firewall rules) will change eventually but in the mean time you can’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket. The categorization of Twitter as a dating site underscores the ignorance (and made me laugh out loud).
My favorite corporate firewall story comes from a stint as a consultant at a major insurance company. Their IT was classically (overly) bureaucratic and so it was nearly impossible to find any phone extension you needed, including the IT help desk. One employee got around this problem by simply opening his browser and typing "http://www.playboy.com" into the address bar, which redirected him to the corporate "shame on you page" that also included the IT help desk number.
I think it’s crazy for companies to limit their employees’ access to the vast amount of information available on the web, but I’m actually seeing these restrictions get more aggressive. Eventually, though, these things have to change because knowledge workers can’t work without information.
For the marketers, though, I don’t see how you can help but put your eggs in the social media basket. Companies block "blogs," but what’s a blog anymore? Almost all new websites are built on blogging-capable content managers. Certainly email and webpage ads are losing their effectiveness. I think that the burden is on those of us who can use these tools to build their credibility, create professional resources, and reduce the stigma that’s got corporate IT putting labels like "dating sites" on them.
The funny thing is I posted to the blog over the network. And I had no trouble with any blogs on my Goggle Reader. Twitter, on the other hand, seems to be a problem. I was just on Facebook. Weird.