Thursday, June 28, 2007

Facebook? How? Why?

I've been out of the loop for a while. Partly because I've been busy, but partly because, inspired by Drew Meyers, I joined Facebook a few weeks ago - after all, who could resist a line like "How Facebook is completely changing the internet."

I wasn't alone. About the same time about a dozen of my close friends (not distant acquaintances, people I speak/write to at least weekly) were doing the same thing. Ever since I have had a steady stream of people getting in touch. Quite simply, it's amazing.

In the same way I had a "Road to Damascus" conversion to blogging last year, I can now see that the idea of so-net software could have huge benefits in the corporate environment - the idea of being able to gently broadcast ideas (instead of forcing the point in email, or hiding them away in forums) , share apps (I'm thinking how you could set training courses up) or simply get to know colleagues in different places. Like blogging, so-net software's ability to create spaces for communication, rather than sterile channels like mail and IM, makes it easy to find new ways to find and create value in thought.

What I'm less certain about is the idea that Facebook itself is the ideal place to do this (or here or here). Maybe it's a cultural thing (most of the folks saying these things are American) but I'm to be convinced on the value/desirability of merging social and private lives in this way. Work/life balance is a tough enough gig anyway, without having the walls removed entirely in your on-line life.

Maybe I'm missing a trick, but the idea that what I emote on a Sunday morning after a night on the sauce with friends will be visible by the MD (if I can get him to accept my friendship invitation that is) does not fill me with warmth. Equally, the idea that I should self-censor in order to avoid trouble is equally worrying.

One thought I can't help but think: if there is ever to be a tangible "PLE" I think it will bear a simple blue and white logo in the top right - and I'll be sharing it with people that I haven't seen since school.