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1. Celeste LeCompte - January 25, 2011

Interesting post, David. Personally, I just don’t buy the idea that younger Internet users are going to be too lazy to create a new profile on LinkedIn — first of all, creating a professional filter on Facebook is a far more complicated and time-consuming activity, even if the site were to roll out new tools for this. Secondly, don’t younger Internet users find things like creating a profile LESS burdensome than older Internet users do?

But more broadly, it’s not clear to me why companies would want to have B2B networks on Facebook. I mean, do they? You want your employees to behave professionally, and that means not inviting their beer buddies into the office — which is, essentially, what Facebook allows.

So, what is to be accomplished from the business side by building professional networks on FB? Do you want your employees to post job openings to their networks to recruit talent? That’s what “share” tools are for. Do you want your employees to promote campaigns, products, or services to their friend base if they’re potential customers? Again, that’s what “share” tools are for. Social media policies, good intra-office communication and collaboration tools (which help raise the visibilty of job openings and public-facing campaigns…), and a strong company culture (that makes people want to socialize and collaborate with their colleagues, encourages referrals for positions, etc.) seem more important to me than building out Facebook-based professional networks.

2. David Card - January 25, 2011

Celeste, BranchOut’s professional network angle is two-fold: job seekers and recruiters who don’t want the current employer in the loop, and an as-yet unrealized sales contact network something like Jigsaw.

As for other companies that might want to build out a professional network based on Facebook, well, I can’t dispute your points. But they could treat Facebook as a customer acquisition means, and perhaps as a secondary tool their employees could use to read company feeds. Since your employees and customers are already there on Facebook, the idea would be to entice them back to a more controlled environment.

Then there’s the promise of leveraging the social graph into business-focused communications….

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