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Facebook is looking to take over the workplace

The whole process smacks of reinventing the wheel. Aren't we doing this stuff already? Facebook thinks so, hence Facebook at Work. But actually many people are already engaged in much more relevant, business-oriented activity on LinkedIn. Users of that site have a fairly business-focused user profile, oodles of useful connections and are plugged into an ecosystem of existing useful business content.

Towards the end of last year, reports resurfaced of Facebook's plans to enter the enterprise market with a version of its ubiquitous social network. Facebook at Work has been dubbed both a LinkedIn and Google Drive killer and is slated for release early this year. Yet far from directly challenging LinkedIn it seems obvious to me that Facebook at Work simply confirms the case for LinkedIn stepping in and doing the same thing itself. It is actually in a much better position than anyone else to do this kind of thing, and could offer enterprises a far more useful product.

The typical enterprise social network

Anyone who has setup, managed or simply used a company intranet or enterprise social network will be aware of their inherent failings. Day one: the system launches, and everyone has to fill out yet another personal profile. Adding job skills is then fairly straight forward, but doubtless hundreds of man hours are lost every year as people pick and re-pick suitable profile photos. The latest enterprise social networks like Yammer and Jive will then ask users to connect to and follow useful colleagues. Hideously complex algorithms will constantly flag up Geoff from accounts, which isn't a great deal of help for most. Users instead generally add those they can see from their desk. Genuinely useful contacts, such as those who can help on a current project and that promotion, are missed. Then there comes the most popular use case of any social network – status updates and messaging. Users are given yet another activity feed, another private inbox to manage and quite often another destination to post up content or blog posts.

The whole process smacks of reinventing the wheel. Aren't we doing this stuff already? Facebook thinks so, hence Facebook at Work. But actually many people are already engaged in much more relevant, business-oriented activity on LinkedIn. Users of that site have a fairly business-focused user profile, oodles of useful connections and are plugged into an ecosystem of existing useful business content.

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