Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Goodbye Youtube

Streaming/Media is the newest category of forbidden sites in my company's crusade to get us off the web. Streaming media from video.google.com is ok though.
In my opinion, blocking web content is a bad idea. We can all appreciate why companies do this. They want people to spend their time at work, doing work.
My company has a lot of employees who are hourly and I think that they set the filters with them in mind. I'm sure I would look at people doing faceplants on youtube all the time if I were in a call center.
My problem with this approach is that it is executed with broad strokes. There is a growing list of news and technology resources that I am unable to reach while I'm at the office. There was a technical paper about how casinos implement their security systems, blocked for gambling. Postmortems for video game projects at Gamasutra, blocked for video games. My favorite online javascript stopwatch site--sweet tool for doing really simple UI stopwatch tests, blocked for games.
I think the bigger issue is the message that the company sends to all employees. The message I hear is, "We do not trust you." In my opinion, this is the only thing that the company succeeds at with this approach. Any sufficiently motivated individual is going to find a way to do what they want regardless of the barriers that are put in front of them. If people are going to goof off at work, it doesn't matter how many distractions you take away, they are going to find ways to escape working.
Getting into an arms race between the company and the slackers is a losing proposition. People who are motivated to work are going to work and those who aren't motivate, well wouldn't you be better off having a person who is motivated in that position.
Investing time and resources in preventing people from goofing off is expensive. It can't be done well. It will usually penalize and hurt the morale of the people who are motivated.
My solution, let people do whatever they want with the Internet and judge them by their results.

1 comment:

Paul Wiedel said...

Oh, sweet they are playing with the filter. Last time they did that they ended up blocking the entire corporate Intranet.