From the Archives: Stop Blocking Social Media

Editor’s Note: I’m returning to Mayo Clinic this week for the Fourth Annual Health Care Social Media Summit. It made me think about a post I wrote last year encouraging hospitals to stop blocking social media — still an important issue. The original post from October 18, 2011, follows. Watch for #MayoRagan tweets this week from the conference. 

A pile of myths keeps hospitals from deploying one of their most powerful public relations tools: their own employees.

That’s the way Shel Holtz sees it. Holtz is a popular writer, blogger and speaker on social media, and he presented a three-hour pre-conference workshop at the Mayo Ragan Third Annual Health Care Social Media Summit.

One piece of his presentation really resonated with me, and it happens to be a topic Holtz is passionate about: Hospitals should open social media to their employees.

Hospitals aren’t the only culprits. Companies everywhere are blocking employee access to the net, says Holtz, “fueled by questionable research and irresponsible pronouncements of self-serving individuals and organizations.”

Here are the often-stated myths surrounding what will happen when hospitals open social media to their employees:

  • It will damage worker productivity.
  • It will open the system to viruses and malware.
  • Employees will violate HIPAA and other regulations.
  • It will eat up all the bandwidth.

For answers, see the website Holtz developed specifically for this, Stop Blocking!


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