This week Facebook jumps full force into the enterprise collaboration software and social communications movement with their release of Facebook At Work, the social media giant’s attempt to solve the sprawl of social contact in larger companies. Their goal: bringing employees together around projects and teams to let the conversations and ideas that matter rise to the top. Since 1.15 billion monthly active users already use their product and understand the interface, Facebook is banking on that familiarity as a selling point for generating interest from businesses to take the plunge.
Familiarity Breeds Success?
Since the dirty secret of the workplace is that everyone spends all their time on Facebook anyway, the hope is that businesses will be onboard as Facebook At Work will now allow you to connect with workmates instead of random high school friends and Auntie Mildred’s photos of her pet poodle. Facebook At Work will take advantage of the existing News Feeds, Messages, Events and other Facebook apps that so much of the world is already using. Employees and coworkers will then be able to interact just like they do in their private lives. Though currently only available to a select few clients, the app did appear on the Apple Store this week and is being made available on Android and desktop applications for a few lucky businesses.
What It Does
At its core, Facebook At Work is all about efficiency. Facebook is trying to turn its most useful ability – filtering massive amounts of communication so user can find what is relevant – and marketing it businesses. As Lars Rasmussen, Facebook’s Director of Engineering, said in Wired, “Your News Feed will populate with posts shared by the coworkers who you already interact with the most.” Billed also as a collaboration tool that could replace (or augment) email, and looking just like the Facebook everyone is used to, Facebook hopes the learning curve is short and adoption will be easy for businesses. With it’s white background, devoid of the traditional blue color scheme, Zuckerberg and the Facebook At Work team is also hoping that managers will recognize that employees are on the “right” Facebook. Additionally, having a personal Facebook account will not be a requirement to use Facebook At Work.
Going Head To Head
Facebook at work is knowingly wading into a crowded marketplace with LinkedIn, Salesforce’s Chatter, Asana, IBM’s Connections, Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack and host of other enterprise-level social networks that purport to help employees connect, collaborate and share. But just as Friendster and MySpace existed in the pre-Facebook era, perhaps Facebook’s hope is that their already widespread use will catapult this new offering to success.
Though they may have a steep road to climb to overcome Facebook’s reputation as a time-waster, and their seemingly constant privacy concerns, this represents a definite shift into a new market for the social behemoth. Many will be watching this private beta to see whether this spreads like wildfire or sinks into oblivion.