For all of social networking's benefits, these sites do cause their share of problems. A few months back I discussed the potential security gaps social networks can cause, and the privacy concerns and workplace productivity concerns have been widely debated. Yet, for all their vices, most organizations choose to allow employees to use social networks, citing their value in, as the name implies, helping employees to network.
Here's one more mark to add to the list: network bloat. According to a study by Network Box, YouTube is reported to use 10 percent of organization's bandwidth, and Facebook is reported to use 4.5 percent.
Fortunately, SuperLumin Networks has released a product called Social Media Cache that reduces the strain of social networking sites. According to SuperLumin, the product works like this:
"Social media web applications such as Facebook and YouTube use a redirection model for content distribution, which means the same web objects often originate from a different server with a different URL. Most caches have to store a separate copy derived from each server. The SuperLumin Social Media Cache can determine if an object has already been retrieved from another server and vend it from the existing cache inventory."
I asked the company for specific numbers on the bandwidth reduced by the product but have not received a response.
(Update 11/10: I just heard back from SuperLumin. Breaking the bandwidth reduction down to a percentage is impossible because it will vary by every organization. However, the representative I spoke with wanted to stress that the offering will only make a significant difference for organizations that have very high social networking usage rates. For instance, some universities have over 50 percent of their bandwidth from Facebook and YouTube! I'm scheduling a time to learn more about the company, so stay tuned for more potentially.)
Have you taken the time to record your organization's social networking usage? If so, please chime in the comments below—would love to hear what your biggest bandwidth eaters are.
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