Social media: Facebook invades the office
“If you’re not already using Facebook regularly in the office, you might soon find your boss insisting upon it,” said Katie Collins on CNET.com. Last week, Facebook launched Workplace, a businessoriented version of its ubiquitous social network. Just like Facebook, there are groups, reactions, and a news feed, but instead of receiving updates from friends and family, users connect and chat with colleagues and clients. Workplace users can also video chat with remote employees and conduct conference calls. “The major strength of Workplace is how familiar users already are with Facebook,” said Joon Ian Wong on Qz.com. Because the format is basically identical to regular Facebook, companies won’t have to spend much time or money training employees how to use it. Starting at $3 per user per month, Workplace is also cheaper than rival Slack’s office chat app, which now boasts more than 3 million users. “You can officially add Facebook to the list of software companies seeking to all but eliminate corporate email,” said Heather Clancy on Fortune.com. Workplace’s goal, like Slack’s, is to cut down on the number of redundant and time-consuming messages workers receive by relying instead on the conventions of social media. So instead of a mass email, employees can post articles, updates, and comments to their team’s news feed. Or a CEO can address the entire company via video, using Facebook Live. Workplace “represents a much larger shift toward business apps that behave more like consumer apps,” said Davey Alba in Wired.com. The success of apps like Slack, Box, and Evernote has shown that workers want productivity software that functions more like the apps they already use in their personal life. “Even Apple, which focused for so long on consumer services, is now offering this new breed of business software.” “Facebook may be able to design tools that people want to use; what it needs to prove is that it can make them more productive by doing so,” said Steve Ranger on ZDNet.com. Before Slack took Silicon Valley by storm, there were corporate social networks like Chatter by Salesforce and Microsoft’s Yammer, none of which managed to kill off email. Maybe that’s because, just like personal social media, staffers quickly find themselves spending too much time updating their statuses and reading posts instead of “doing their actual jobs.” There’s something unsettling about using Facebook “to do business, rather than to be distracted from it,” said Anna Wiener on NewYorker.com. It’s yet another example of how technology is eroding the boundaries between our personal and professional lives. “Workplace software, no longer confined to the physical office, now lives in our pockets.”
Facilitating mass surveillance?