Social media’s role in helping office drones goof off is legendary, but “using Facebook at work” may soon take on a new meaning. No longer content with dominating every aspect of its users’ personal lives, Facebook is said to be planning a new service -- “Facebook at Work" -- that will bring it into the business social networking arena, according to the Financial Times.
The FT writes that Facebook at Work will have many of the same features as Facebook at the Rest of Your Life, including newsfeeds and groups. However users’ work profiles will be separate from their personal profiles, thus minimizing the risk that you will inadvertently share, say, off-color jokes or photos of your prized bong collection with your boss or clients. Obviously, this would put Facebook in competition with LinkedIn, which pioneered the whole separate-work-profile-without-bongs thing.
The Facebook at Work extension could also function as an enterprise social network for internal communications, with features for chatting with co-workers, collaboration on documents, and so on -- again rather like existing services offered by Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce’s Chatter, and Microsoft’s Outlook and Yammer.
The news comes as Facebook’s phenomenal growth rate of the last decade appears to be moderating somewhat, prompting the company to find new ways to engage existing users. So far this year, Facebook has added 122 million new users, growing from 1.228 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013 to 1.35 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2014. By comparison over the same period from 2012-2013 the company added 133 million users, and from 2011-2012, 207 million users.
Plenty of people are already using Facebook at work, just not necessarily for work. Last year a survey by SilkRoad Technologies found that 75% of office workers say they access social media from work via mobile devices at least once a day, with 60% accessing it several times a day. In another survey from Intelligent Office, 30% of respondents admitted to spending at least an hour a day on social media while at work.