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Facebook in the enterprise

When we look back, decisions we made/should have made seem obvious. When we look forward, everything is viewed through a lens of conflicting and competing information and ultimately converges on uncertainty. Think back 10-15 years to what now seems very obvious, but at the time may have been a bit loony: the teacher eager to use this thing called the internet for teaching, the librarian wanting to put information online, the person in the office cubicle next to you wanting to register the company’s domain name. Or more recently: Google’s IPO, Apple stock three years ago, the iPod. In retrospect, things look very clear. But for every iPod, iPhone, or Google, there are many Newton’s, Webvan’s, also-ran search engines, and other products. AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy, after all, sought initially to lock down their service to subscribers. History often provides clear winners and precise insights. When lived forward, life fails to offer such clear demarcations between what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. Hence, uncertainty still exists around SecondLife, Facebook, and to a lessor degree, blogs and wikis. The facebook issue currently rests on suitability for enterprise-wide use. Consider these two posts: Is Facebook in the Enterprise an Oxymoron? and Facebook enterprise application. In a few years, we may see the wise insights of leaders who eagerly pursued the organizational use of Facebook or the educational use of SecondLife. Or we might find that both have slipped into obscurity and are remembered with the same passing indifference or sense of oddity now reserved for Newtons and Webvan.

One Comment

  1. I work with businesses every week who want to consider diving into Facebook. I try to convince them of something really important, which I believe goes for teachers, too: it’s not about using Facebook but learning from it, and applying those lessons to your company intranet, your ways of dealing with colleagues and customers.

    That way, we gain the best from these apps and don’t have to put up with the things we don’t like. It means our data can be secure and work/personal life remain distinct, but always with that option to link out to personal life from work and vice versa should the employee choose to.

    Adoption of social media isn’t so much about adoption of tools as adoption of attitudes. It’s not worth getting precious about which tools – that’s a waste of our energies. We just need to spend more time learning from what works and what doesn’t.

    Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink