I don’t often get excited about social networks; particularly new ones – aren’t there enough of them already??

Also, people who know me, know I never get excited about anything Facebook do. This has all changed. Facebook are planning Facebook for Work, and I’m more excited about this than any other network out there, and here’s why you should be too:

  • It’s a network we know already: we’ve learnt the ropes, know the etiquette, and understand (roughly) how it works. Isn’t that half the battle done?
  • It’s got lots of people we already know on it: Growing a network is one of the hardest things to achieve in a new space – without crappy meaningless tactics like importing your twitter contacts etc. This has already been completed.
  • We have kept our personal and professional lives separate: Friends and Family who choose to join you ‘at Work’, will be happy to hear more about your business news and connections. Currently, you’re probably holding back on the business because you know people won’t like it. However, if the permission was given, you’d be in there like a shot.

Here’s my own personal example:

I have a big skateboarding network, and many skateboarders lead creative professional lives; some of them lead big corporate business lives. On FB our point of ‘business’ communication is first and foremost personal. We already have a mutually accepted connection: our hobby. If I want to provide services for my network there, or, if I want to buy other peoples services there, it isn’t acceptable, because FB doesn’t make it easy and the etiquette makes it uncomfortable to do so. A FB business layer, which doesn’t compromise my FB personal layer, will easily become another slice of bread on top of an already tasty open jam sandwich.

I can easily, and confidently announce: here I am, this is what I do, and if you want to join me, or work with me, come on in. Not only that, but everyone else (re: those with something to offer) will be doing it too. Bingo: a mutually agreed, business network – and we’re all still friends.

It’s wrong to assume I could just transfer all my potential business connections to LinkedIn. Why? Because LinkedIn is the wrong space. It’s a HR network, full of business-y features and people trying to make the best of it. It’s a bit like, Google, Twitter, and Facebook, and ends up being not good at either. Many people I know, and are in business, don’t use it at all; despite it being the #1 business network! Something there is broken, clearly.

So what now? If you agree with me; then start adding FB friends: even if you don’t know these ‘friends’ at all. You can still follow them, limit their access to what they can see in your settings, and carry on with your life. But I predict, it will be those people with big networks on FB who make the biggest gains on FB at Work.

Business with friends: what could be better.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them – either in the comments here or anywhere else online, just let me know.

Mark

(image and story soure via Facebook Is Testing ‘Facebook At Work’, Separately Hosted Version To Roll Out In A Few Months | TechCrunch.)