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Are there any tools that can monitor social sites (Facebook, Twitter and so on) usage, and if a particular user has overused his/her daily quota, send him/her a warning?

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So what, you give each user an allowance of x minutes per day or something? IMHO, you either trust your users to not abuse their time on social networks, or block them outright. –  Ben Pilbrow Jul 24 '11 at 13:48
We'd like to give some usage credit indeed, then send a soft-warning to person. If not possible we'd like at least an option to monitor who is overusing, in order to handle the matter via management route. As for your question, we trust our users fully, but we also see a drop in performance, and management when doing rounds in office and seeing most of people keeping social on 2nd screen (most of users have 2 screens) are naturally nervous. –  SyRenity Jul 24 '11 at 14:03
What would be the unit for such a quota? Data transferred? Minutes spent? Page loads? I.e. how would you measure these minutes if someone is opening multiple tabs, read them one after another and prepares answers that get sent in a short time? You would see two minutes on Crapbook, while the user is spending half an hour with it. –  Sven Jul 24 '11 at 14:24
Managers are the correct tool here. –  Iain Jul 24 '11 at 15:49
The point is that I'm tasked with providing the said managers with metrics they can work with. –  SyRenity Jul 26 '11 at 7:52

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If its time you want to measure then websense have a web filtering product that may do what you want. It allows you to create custom filtering groups of sites and assign a time-based user quota to them, which may do it for you.

However, websense isn't cheap (though there is a trial version iirc) so this is a lot of money to spend on what is ultimately a bad idea*.

(* they'll only switch to a site you're not monitoring. There are rarely good technical solutions to behavioural problems)

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QFT: "There are rarely good technical solutions to behavioural problems." –  MikeyB Jul 24 '11 at 15:03
Thanks, at least I can provide the management with some kind of solution. –  SyRenity Aug 21 '11 at 13:56

I think this will be harder than you think, and I really don't know how you're going to "count" usage. For example, when at work I normally have the Server Fault main page and chat room open in Firefox. The problem is, just because it's open in Firefox all day making requests (the chat room makes A LOT of Ajax requests polling for new messages) it does not mean I am doing nothing but looking at Server Fault all day. These are just 2 of the many tabs I have open in Firefox, and Firefox is just one of many windows I have open. My point being just because it's open and making HTTP requests, there's a very high chance that I'm not looking at it and actually doing some work.

As far as your request goes, I don't know of any product that does what you want and the best I can come up with is some filtering of your web proxy/firewall logs if either of these provide them. The caveat with this, as I mentioned above is that just because my PC is making obscene numbers of HTTP requests to http://chat.stackexchange.com that does not accurately reflect my time actually spent interacting with the chat room.

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Have to agree, time spent on a site is not a measure of productivity. If I spend an hour in server fault chat during a work day, am I wasting time, investing time building a working relationship with people whose knowledge may benefit my employer in the future or outright asking for help with a technical problem from work and getting said help? A web filtering tool certainly can't tell the difference between those actions, only one of which is undesirable. –  RobM Jul 24 '11 at 14:55

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