Technology & Social Media

Facebook At Work: A cure for ‘social not-working?’

Every now and then someone asks me — against all logic — to give a presentation about the effective use of social media. In each of the last couple of presentations I’ve given, the same question has arisen: “Should I have two Facebook accounts — a personal account and a business account?"

My answer, in a nutshell, is this: It depends. What do you feel comfortable with? If you want two accounts and have the time to maintain both, go for it.

Me? I have just one account, and I post both business and personal content there. I believe the people we do business with don’t mind seeing our human side. They understand that work is a part of life, and vice versa. Plus, ask yourself this: Which would you rather connect with — a soul-less account full of bland corporate-speak, or a real person who has real interactions with other real people?

It’s a matter of comfort and preference, I guess.

Facebook apparently feels the same way.

According to the Financial Times, Facebook is “secretly” working on a new service called “Facebook At Work,” which would allow users “to chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts and collaborate over documents, competing with Google Drive and Microsoft Office.”

Even more interesting, the new service apparently would allow users to keep their personal postings separate from their professional content. That sounds like it could be the holy grail — two identities, one social media presence.

If Facebook figures this out, it could — could, mind you — spell trouble for LinkedIn.

It also could be the silver bullet to every employer’s social not-working nightmare. We all use Facebook at work, right? (That’s assuming our employers don’t block it.) Finally, we might have a solution that lets us use it productively.

Still, this won’t be a walk in the park for Zuckerberg & Co. Facebook faces some competition in this space.

“Salesforce Chatter is already a popular service used by thousands of users,” Parmy Olson writes in Forbes. “Slack has also become a popular collaboration service that’s challenging Atlassian’s HipChat and Campfire, with its clean interface for chatting with colleagues or sharing documents and links.”

Really, though, come on — Chatter? Slack? HipChat? Campfire? This is Facebook we’re talking about. If its 1.3 billion active monthly users find a reason to use Facebook productively in the office, is there really any competition out there?

For the record, Facebook has not commented about Facebook At Work.

Folks like us are doing all the talking for them.


Bill Sheridan