Workers of the world, rejoice! You now have a bit more of an excuse to waste time on Facebook during work! Ummm, sort of. Facebook is entering the Enterprise Social Network market to compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Yammer, Convo, Slack, and Socialcast among others. These types of services can be useful in that it enables quicker and easier collaboration across departments and locations using many of the same tools and interfaces that people are used to for their personal socializing.
Effectively a beta, [email protected] still has some unanswered questions about the service such as whether it will be a paid service or monetized through ads, or how third party Apps might ultimately work. Facebook clearly wants to be a big part of your life. Everything from their decision to make news discovery more prominent in the Newsfeed to them splitting up Facebook Messenger into its own dedicated App seems designed to put Facebook more front and center in everybody's everyday life. Given that many businesses frown on Facebook usage from 9-5, this seems like a move designed to open up that market for them and give them more of an opportunity to be a part of peoples' daily lives.
Will Facebook at work be successful? Well, we know that this is a big market as many big companies as well as startups are involved in. Many of the tools that are built for this have been in use at Facebook for their own day to day operations for nearly a decade. And Facebook has been testing this software with numerous companies around the world. However, privacy issues as well as their psychology experiments have dented Facebook's reputation, and Facebook also has a history of shutting down marginal products that don't quickly succeed, so big businesses might be a tiny bit cautious about putting all of their eggs in this basket. But regardless, it will be interesting to see how this effects the enterprise social networking marketplace and whether this actually becomes useful to how businesses operate for the future. With increased trends towards gamification and other management tricks to keep employees motivated and productive, this could conceivably be a big part of how management works in the 21st century.