For almost as long as Facebook has been in existence, businesspeople have complained about how hard it is to separate their personal and professional lives on the social network. Many people “solved” the problem by just not using Facebook for business. That’s one way to maintain boundaries, but it also, arguably, leaves business opportunity (and professional networking potential) on the table.
All that may change with the release of the Facebook at Work platform. In fact, Facebook could soon be considered the mullet of social networking: business in the front, party in the back. Here are 10 things you need to know about Facebook at Work.
1. The Facebook at Work app, which will be free (at least at first), is separate from regular Facebook. You can (and should) be all business on your company’s Facebook at Work platform, and let your freak fly (within reason) on your personal Facebook account.
2. Facebook at Work directly competes with tools like Microsoft’s Yammer, Salesforce.com’s Chatter, Slack, Convo and Socialcast. It’s less like LinkedIn, but there is some overlap.
3. Facebook at Work is not a collaboration tool. You can share content, but colleagues can’t work on content with you (and others) at the same time.
4. With that said, when you set up your work account, you can connect it to your personal account, according to Facebook. This lets you easily switch between your personal and work Facebook accounts. (Your username and password aren't shared with your employer, notes Facebook.)
5. Your work account is visible only to people at your company and is separate from your personal account. From your work account, you can still access things that are shared publicly on Facebook.
6. While your personal and business accounts will be separate, one of the big draws of Facebook at Work is that it uses all the tools and conventions we have become so familiar with. Employees can connect using news feeds, groups, messages and events, for example.
7. Facebook at Work will have a different color scheme than Facebook classic (making it easier for managers to easily assess whether employees are being productive with the Work version or just poking around on the personal version).
8. A mobile version of Facebook at Work, usable via a limited pilot, is available for iOS and Android. As on the desktop version of Facebook and Facebook at Work, the respective mobile versions of the social platform will be separate with no crossover.
9. People who are savvy about social technology in business know that it’s a great platform for demonstrating subject-matter expertise. This includes sharing not only your own original content, but also effectively curating content for your colleagues. (In other words, sharing the news about the latest security breach—as opposed to that funny Jimmy Fallon clip--with your ITsec colleagues.) When you share something from your Facebook at Work account, you can share it with everyone at your company (without making it visible to people outside your company) or make it visible only to you by selecting the Only Me option.
10. Administrators can access anything users share from their Facebook at Work accounts.
Does Facebook at Work have a place at your organization? What do you see as its potential benefits and drawbacks? Please let know what you think in the comments section below.