Monday, October 29, 2007

Facebook for business?

I have been excessively excited about the Facebook ap for Blackberry over the last couple of days. It's not because I like Facebook. I find it mostly an annoying distraction with too much junk, perhaps because my friends are for the most part not active users. But Blackberry-Facebook changes the utility of Facebook, or at least suggests some really interesting possibilities, particularly for business.

I've showed Blackberry-Facebook to multiple friends. Only two got it. One was excited for one of the reasons I get excited: it's just a really nicely executed ap, a cool bit of programming. The other was mildly intrigued because it made him think about uses of handheld tools like that for business. He isn't a Facebook user. I showed him how you access your list of friends. And then he asked if you could see their calendars. And of course you can't. But a "Facebook for business" should and could. And that gets to the crux of the opportunity.

Will businesses start wondering how they can use Blackberry-Facebook for something more than social networking? Someone, someday is going to create a really good networking tool for business, particularly for our free agent nation. But unfortunately Blackberry-Facebook is just a glimmer.

LinkedIn is somehow supposed to be the business social networking tool. But for me it has devolved to a fancy resume posting tool. And I don't need my resume out there.

Facebook has glimmers of possibility.

Wouldn't it be great if you could put your business network on Facebook, like you can on LinkedIn, but selectively interact with groups of contacts? Whether you're fully free agent, and working with multiple clients on multiple projects, or you're working within a company on multiple projects, wouldn't it be great to create groups of people for particular projects as easily as you can create groups in Facebook? Wouldn't it be wonderful to selectively show your calendar to these groups, so that it was showing Busy/Free or all Details on a need-to-know basis by group? Wouldn't it be great if you could update your status (like in Facebook) quickly on the fly so different teams could know where you are or what you're doing? And wouldn't it be great to have an inter-office or inter-project e-mail system like you do in Facebook, that beautifully integrates with your POEmail (PlainOldEmail) system, like it does with Blackberry Facebook? Wouldn't it be cool if you could see everyone's calendars too, all within the same system? And the key would be, without any implementation of an Exchange server, a Blackberry Enterprise server, or anything like that but a system that business and personal contacts can all easily hook into.

How does Facebook use Facebook internally for their own business purposes? What business networking tools are there that I'm missing?
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