In case you missed it, Facebook decided to like itself this week. It gave a big thumbs-up to the idea that you should be using Facebook at work with a new app called Facebook at Work.
Not surprisingly, it looks like Facebook. The idea is that, hey, you are using Facebook anyway, so you might as well use it as your work's social network. You set up a private network that works just like Facebook, but only people in your company can see it. So instead of all your friends hating you for posting pictures of your lunch and your dog, your coworkers can. And that picture of your cute kid will look great next to the org chart and monthly sales figures.
OK, full disclosure. I'm a giant fan of Facebook. I joined it the first day they opened it up for grownups, and I stay logged in all day.
At the same time, it feels so silly. If I wanted to use Facebook for work, you know what I'd use? Facebook. Facebook has added the ability to make groups, to post to specific people only, and to keep certain posts private or for the eyes of certain people only. The only reason that isn't good enough is that no one trusts Facebook with privacy. Well, do you think enterprises are going to trust Facebook with privacy? If I can't trust that my cat pictures are safe, why would I trust my enterprise secrets to the company that says privacy is dead? Plus, I'm quite certain the similarity between the apps is going to get people into trouble. What if I post my bikini shots from my last vacation on the wrong Facebook? What if I'm so used to that little blue app making me comfortable with my friends that I start posting about the politics of getting wasted over the weekend on Facebook for Work?
[Put a mirror on your social activity. See ThinkUp: How You Really Look On Social Networks.]
Minor things to be sure, but real issues. Enough to give even a Facebook lover like me some pause.
I've also got some questions about Facebook for Work that haven't been answered:
• When will we get a dislike button?
• Will they change security and privacy settings every two weeks?
• Will my work Candy Crush app sync with my personal Candy Crush app? Can I get five extra lives that way?
• Can I still declare my love of Rick Springfield and Leif Garrett on Facebook for Work?
• Will there be memes going around about how Facebook is going to get copyright over all our quarterly earnings unless we change our settings immediately?
• Is George Takei going to find a way to dominate Facebook for Work, too?
If Facebook can overcome these and other issues, I fully expect other social networks to follow suit. Personally, I can't wait for it. Imagine how this would work for others.
Twitter for Work -- Quarterly earnings up 3 points. #awesome #doitagain #salesrocks #ftw
Instagram for Work -- It's just your CEO posting pictures of himself standing next to charts and with all sorts of funny filters. See this picture?
It makes earnings look better, too.
Google+ for Work -- Lots of circles. No one uses it. But everyone is forced to have an account.
Vine for Work -- Constant six-second loops of your coworkers not being able to make conference calls.
MySpace for Work -- Actually, it would be called "Not At All Your Space" and some guy Tom would be the only one using it.
What do you think? Would you use Facebook for Work? Would it be better than your average corporate wiki? Could you trust it with company data? What social network would you most like to see make a work app? Comment below.
Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio