Perhaps, like me and one of my blog buddies, Stephanie Weaver, you have been avoiding the whole Facebook thing. You thought it was for 'young people'. You thought it was about getting hooked up, and not in a business-kind of way.
So did I.
Then I saw who was starting to fool around on Facebook. So I came to the party, albeit a bit late. [I'm hoping to claim fast-follower status here ... is it too late for that??]
LinkedIn is a great application in terms of business contact information. It's much easier to maintain LinkedIn than it is to maintain your own Outlook contacts. So it's a bit like one of those updating services, but without the annoying e-mails form other people's executive assistants, asking you to update your business card. The problem with LinkedIn is that it is kind of ... dull. Static. There's no sense of connection.
Enter Facebook. Once I got on to it, I could see why it is so magnetic. You get the feeling -- however foolish and unfounded it may be -- that you are keeping in touch with people. It's actually kind of fun.
What we really need is some kind of marriage of these two things.
More important... there are many more commercial applications being tested, just like there have been in Second Life. Here are two I'm interested in right now -- stodgy banks, OK? But they are experimenting, and trying to find their way.
I had no idea there were so many employee groups. Bank branches. Store locations. You name it. I think the corporate IT people are trying to shut this kind of thing down, just as they have with blogs. Several of my clients would like to be able to monitor blogs as part of their work, however they are blocked by the corporate firewall. [I know, I know ... !!!]
What to do, what to do...
Don't be thinking you've seen it all. This stuff seems to be picking up speed every day. I'm wondering if it might be a more useful collaboration tool than the online thing I've been paying big bucks for and nobody seems to want to use.
And don't be thinking you've got to get it right, waiting on the sidelines. How well did that strategy serve anyone in the early days of the web??? I'm not saying, go blow the bankroll. What I am saying is ...
Start experimenting. In small ways. With audiences that might be more receptive. Be transparent, in case you didn't already know. No fake Facebooking, OK?
Give it a little budget and resources. If I can spend half the day on this stuff without even trying, building something meaningful is going to take actual time. And probably some out-of-pocket cash. Maybe not huge, but don't ask people to do it on the side of their desk. That's not the way to success.
But you also need to get the learning started. Soon. It's September... what are you doing this month?