Blog | Enterprise 2.0: Work Together Online.

Facebook is NOT a proper work environment

Facebook should be admired as the most significant application in social networking of this decade. It has touched millions of lives across the world and contributes countless working examples that fuels the global discussion about social networking.

With that said, Facebook is not an ideal work environment. It is a social one. Some of the reasons Facebook makes a bad work environment is

  • a large noisy crowd,
  • a lack of content ownership, and
  • a lack of collaborative tools that are instrumental in hosting effective collaboration.

Too many people. Facebook's goal is quantity.

As a social utility, Facebook's biggest advantage is having so many people in one place. It's the key element to its success. These same people also provide the most significant barrier to being an effective work environment. Who occupies your work environment matters.  Friends and family have a drastic impact to the context of the conversations taking place and mixing family, friends, and co-workers doesn't often work. For many people Facebook is only a social environment and conversations about work aren't welcome.

And yet conversations about work do happen within Facebook. Then what?

Where are the collaborative tools?

A proper work environment supports work discussions by providing your team with collaborative tools beyond group discussion boards. A good example is a wiki which facilitates group notes and enables knowledge capture. In the absence of the these collaborative tools, the results of your work remain within group discussion boards that provide a poor level of permanence.

The other issue is that your work is permanently stored within a public utility that you don't own.

You wrote it, but it's not your content.

In a business setting, lack of content ownership is an important issue. The working conversations and collaborative documents being generated within today's digital work place are of enormous value.

Not only do you not own the environment where your information is being stored, your content isn't readily available when you need it. An effective search tool is a must when dealing with a work environment that is managing hundreds, if not thousands of group projects and discussions.

The trouble is, Facebook doesn't encourage you to mine through group notes to identify the trends that will impact your future. That level of access to network data represents a possible breach of trust amongst their users. Again, it's a social utility and not designed as a proper work environment.

But so what? Why does anyone care about working in Facebook?

The reason this issue receives so much attention is that work is being done in Facebook. Not only that, despite the limitations listed above Facebook has proven to be a better work environment than many employers are providing for their work force.

The question then becomes, "How do you enjoy the advantages of working in an environment like Facebook without experiencing the down sides?"

Collaborative platforms represent the ideal work environment.

While a collaborative platform incorporates the core concepts that are critical to Facebook's success at managing relationships, managing relationships isn't the goal.

The goal is to facilitate group work, capture knowledge and produce results. The primary difference being who these relationships are with and the results these relationships produce.

The production of tangible results is woven into the fabric of a collaborative platform because everything is designed to encourage work.

When you provide quality leadership to a dedicated group within a collaborative platform, success is guaranteed.

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