Facebook @ Work - Like or Dislike?

Making work more fun “Facebook at work” usually refers to people wasting the day stalking frenemies from their desks instead of doing their jobs, but apparently this is about to change.

According to an anonymous source inside the company, Facebook is currently working on a way to position the social network as having a rightful place in the office.

“We are making work more fun and efficient by building an at-work version of Facebook,” says the source, who refers to it as “FB@Work” and says the effort is based in London.

What’s not clear is whether FB@Work is being built as an internal communication platform, or  as a way for companies to leverage Facebook to drive new business.

Everyone at Facebook is doing it...

“Everyone at Facebook uses [it] for work,” explains one ex-Facebook employee. “Most of their communication and planning is done though Messages and Groups. It would be a pretty natural thing to try to expose this way of using Facebook to get things done at the office to the rest of the world.”

External companies are already using Facebook for work, too.

“Facebook Groups and Messaging have already [transformed] how we communicate,” Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social told Ingrid Lunden. “We know 100% of our employees are on Facebook. Rather than...ask employees to login to yet another system, we [created a Facebook Group] to house many of our real-time company chats and conversations.”

But this project is not a new venture. Facebook has supposedly been stopping and starting the idea for 3 years, due to the battle between the potential opportunities and challenges of doing so.

Stopping and starting

“This is one of two projects that constantly get started and come close to being launched but have been cancelled at the last minute,” reveals another ex-Facebooker.

The other? A controversial version of Facebook for under-13s.

With the latter, privacy is the obstacle. Enterprise presents a different problem: “Facebook employees find using [it] for work communication really useful, but it wasn’t clear whether it would serve a broader demand.”

It as also been hinted at that Facebook has wider plans for an enterprise product aimed more at competing with LinkedIn.

“Facebook is thought of as a community and place for friends, and LinkedIn feels more transactional,” the source says. “Facebook has to be careful not to lose that community appeal.”

Obvious opportunities

Regardless of the challenges, there are obvious opportunities if Facebook did ever launch “FB@Work.”

“[The] blurring of personal/professional online identity creates opportunities for Facebook to play a role in enterprise services,” says Shih.

What do you think - would you 'add' or 'ignore' FB@Work?

photo credit: FACEBOOK(LET)