September 27th, 2010
12:43 PM GMT
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Where were Quest and Ali? No, that’s not this week’s Q&A quiz question… both were away from the set for the past two weeks, but they’re back and ready to answer your questions. What business topic would you like to see quizzed this week? Share your requests here and then see it on air Thursday.

Filed under: Q&AQuest Means Business

September 27th, 2010
04:28 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Are Web 2.0 applications money makers or time wasters?

The results of a global survey by computer anti-virus giant McAfee suggests it’s both.

A survey of 1,000 executives from 17 countries stretching from Japan to India, the UK to Brazil, found that three of four organizations use social media sites for marketing and customer service, or for “crowdsourcing” instead of outsourcing projects and tasks.

Developing markets such as Brazil, India, the United Arab Emirate and Mexico are more likely to view Web 2.0 as a potential revenue stream.

However, nearly half the companies surveyed prohibited Facebook use during company hours  –  the larger the corporation, the more likely the prohibition. About a quarter of companies monitor employee use of social media site for inappropriate behavior.

One reason companies are leery of employees using social networking sites is the growing number of malicious software that is transmitted on Web 2.0 applications. Seven of 10 organizations surveyed lost around $2 million last year  because of  security problems, the McAfee report said.

While IT specialists in the survey favored blocking social media sites due to security risks, Web 2.0 industry analysts think such policies place companies at a competitive disadvantage. In the report, consultant Shel Holtz argued that social connections are important for marketing, recruitment, testing ideas and getting quick feedback. Blocking access “is the laziest way around the problem,” Holtz said in the report.

Executives usually suspect that new technologies will result in employees slacking off.

“When American businesses after WWII started thinking about rolling out telephones on everyone’s desks, the biggest objection that was raised by senior managers, who already had telephones, was that everyone was going to use these phone for personal use,” Analyst Stowe Boyd said in the report. “They were going to call mom; they were going to gossip.”

Still, does posting the latest photos for Mom on Facebook help productivity? Does Facebook and Twitter distract or add to your working life?

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