Facing up to Facebook at Work

Written by on January 19, 2015 in News with 3 Comments

You have to give Facebook ten out of ten for sheer determination, and probably the same score for its ability to keep adding features that most users don’t want.

Facebook has, and probably always will be for most users, their public/private space. By that, I mean that they can selectively expose what parts of their private lives they want their friends to know about. The ease at which one can post a photo, or meaningless bit of trivia, to anyone bored enough to read it is amazing. In the old days you would have had to write post cards, letters or email to all of them separately.

In its relentless goal trying to reinvent itself, Facebook has come up with some ‘clangers’ that have annoyed users to the point of removing themselves from the social platform altogether – oh, and good luck with that monumental task of extrication.

Changes in conditions of use, privacy terms, advertisements, and formats – all aimed at improving the user experience (but mainly to generate revenue) have come at a cost. Surveys indicate that the younger age brackets that made Facebook so popular initially are moving away in droves as the older generations discover how great it is to view pictures of their distant grandchildren and mothers that post countless photos of their babies eating, sleeping, crying and even pooping!

Who cares if Joe Bloggs is at Starbucks or Jenny Bloggs is having her hair done today. Give me strength! But I digress; the biggest clanger of all is Facebook’s latest foray into the workspace. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Facebook at Work is being trialed by a few select organizations as Mr Zuckerberg and Co take on the might of Google, Microsoft and even Apple to capture part of the workspace.

Now, if you happen to work for a company, like my son does, that fires staff caught using social media in the workplace, the concept of encouraging enterprises to adopt its use seems counter-intuitive, even for Facebook.

Facebook at Work (FaW) supposedly encourages you to connect to colleagues and workmates who may or may not be friends. Even though FaW will be accessed via a separate portal (with white instead of blue being the dominant color) and have separate apps, it will include the usual News Feed, Search, Groups, Events, Messenger, plus photo and video sharing functions, but it will revolve around work colleagues.

A company representative scotched early reports that FaW would include ads, but that is no guarantee they won’t appear later. With its main purpose these days to monetize wherever possible, primarily to keep shareholders happy, Facebook will surely find a way to generate revenue from the new idea.

Presuming, of course, that enterprises take to the idea of having their staff constantly accessing Facebook through the working day, either for personal or ‘business’ use. Surely the last thing enterprises need is another ‘collaboration and communication’ tool. We already have LinkedIn, Salesforce, Chatter, Skype, Sugar, FaceTime, WhatsApp and a thousand others providing part or all of any business communication needs, and without a fantastic set of features to set it apart FaW will be likely have a very short life span.

The ever-present security issue rears its ugly head here as well – especially if staff members, for whatever reason, get their colors mixed up and send corporate messages to their friends and family.

Come on Facebook, surely you could have come up with something a little more useful and appealing than a white version of Facebook itself? Better still, why not come up with something completely new that would be of real value to enterprises? Wishful thinking?

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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a freelance writer, regular speaker, MC and chairman for the telecoms and digital services industries worldwide. He has founded and managed software and services companies, acts a market strategist and is now Editor of DisruptiveViews. In June 2011, Tony was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in telecom software worldwide. .

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  1. Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean) says:

    The one company not mentioned here is LinkedIn, which I suspect is the one which Facebook is actually targeting with FaW. At the moment, it’s got a virtually unassailable position as the business social-network & recruitment nexus, and it monetises it in different ways like Premium accounts. Its blog/publishing & group activities are also popular. It would be surprising (& negligent) if FB didn’t at least have a long-shot attempt at competing.

  2. Peter Coleman says:

    This useless unwanted and unnecessary idea will go the same way as the “Enterprise Twitter” that a lot of companies tried just a little while ago. I was at one of those companies and it was obvious that the people who had time to go on the service clearly fell into the following categories: Nothing better to do with their time (send a pink slip); were clearly too stupid to do their jobs (send a pink slip); or were so keen to let everyone else know how clever they were that nobody wanted to work with them (send a pink slip). It also had the tendency to flood your computer with useless messages like “Hey, can anyone help me find out how to make a freebishlinkinteractor work without the dongle” or “I am looking for an opportunity to work in your office, I dont know anyting about what you do, but I know I would enjoy it”. The sooner bosses scotch this FB@W idea and get back to work the better for all.

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