Facebook at work: Professional Communication Meets Commercial Social Media
Summary of: “Facebook at Work Is a Latecomer but Brings a Big Name” by Deepa Seetharaman and Stu Woo in the Wall Street Journal October 10, 2016 2:13 p.m. ET
According to Seetharman and Woo, Facebook is launching its new corporate version of the famous social media application called “Workplace They are entering a competitive space that is already established with notable competition like Jive and Yammer, but still believe that their success in the commercial social media space will allow them to capture market share. It has been tested in a telecommunications company with over 35000 employees (in addition to over 1000 other companies) and includes features that allow employees to create groups with people from other companies, as well as sharing documents and posting videos (Seetharaman and Woo). Notably, there are no ads and there will supposedly be no way for the company to access your personal account in any way (since the personal accounts and private accounts are completely separate, and Facebook will be charging a sliding scale of between $1 and $3 per employee using the application (based on how many users are signed up (Seetharaman and Woo).
This is extremely interesting because Facebook is an international company, and this will undoubtedly affect the global market for social media at work. Facebook is one of the most well-known companies in the world and progressive companies may want to implement it into their culture for more of an informal “Google-like” feel, although I feel like this presents many challenges. Many people seem to be in a perpetual state of distraction, whether it’s driving while texting, or watching TV while doing homework. I wonder how this is going to affect workplace productivity. I have been in job before where there was a real-time chat room (in the late 90’s) and that caused a lot of distraction and inappropriate communication. “Code switching” is a term used to describe how we communicate based on our setting (people and environment), and the more relaxed and real-time a communication is, the more margin of error there is to be inaccurate or inappropriate in a communication. Additionally, email is a great way to have proof of notification or communication, and if the official channel of communication morphs into social media at work, it will be harder to retrieve communication and prove what was said.
Some will say that making communication channels informal will facilitate the flow of ideas and creativity…but I believe that going to far in this direction is a mistake.