I am sure you’ve heard this before, what with 54% companies banning social media sites. Of course, Twitter and Facebook are complete waste of time. Reading and writing blogs is a complete waste of time too. I also hear some executives say email is a waste of time too. And phone? What does everyone talk about anyway? They should get off the phones and just work (and I have had managers complain that personal calls were affecting productivity of some people). I think books are a waste of time too. After all what good could possibly come out of reading anything.
Social media is a tool, a medium. What you do with it constitutes the value you extract from it. Twitter can be a very useful productivity enhancer tool. However if you use it only to catch up with friends, chat about what you are having or review movies (and there is a lot of that going on on Twitter), then yes companies will see it as a productivity sapper. Facebook is a great way to connect with people. But are you spending too much time playing Farmville or answering who is the best looking friend, then yes Facebook is not exactly going to be popular with your boss. Blogs are a great tool to reflect what you have learned, great way to connect with other thinkers and great way to learn. But if you are overactive on your blog about movies, your landlord, or your blue umbrella (yes I have seen this posts with more than 50 comments on how someone got wet because they forgot the blue umbrella or something like that), then companies aren’t necessarily going to be thrilled by it. You can spend all your time reading John Girsham or Harry Potter, but companies would prefer if you read Good to Great, Built to Last or Wikinomics or something like that and implement your learning in your work.
So if you don’t want companies to ban Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, then show your boss the value you are getting from them and how the company can benefit from it.