My column, “Ignore Facebook At Your Peril” generated a good conversation.
Some readers essentially asked, “where’s the proof” that business (and therefore IT) must adapt to the new reality that Facebook is a juggernaut of both identity management and social business.
Fellow editor Alex Rudansky made a good point that, proof or no proof, whatever consumer preference is (and you can hardly argue that FB is a HUGE consumer preference), business needs to follow. Amen to that. We don’t need to see charts and graphs and geological carbon-half-life-dating (though marketshare and time spent data is useful) to come to the conclusion that FB might just be something that businesses need to figure out.
Allow me to add a neat point from TechCrunch: Facebook will capture 15.8% of global mobile ad revenue this year, according to one forecast.
Still, those resistant to change are quick to point out that if you’re in a B2B business, you can safely ignore Facebook. Really? So … your business doesn’t ever advertise anything, right? Your business doesn’t need to keep track of public sentiment, right? Balderdash. Every company needs to do these things, and Facebook is one of the places you do it. Even my relatively old-school day job uses Facebook to promote, to understand what the public is thinking, and so on.
As I said in my column, I don’t exactly love Facebook. But, then, many of us didn’t exactly love the Internet back in the last century, particularly as it became less safe and more spammy, but we did help our businesses understand it and maximize the benefit of using it. I think there’s a parallel here.
One larger point that may have gotten lost in the shuffle: I think that social business, though it may be uncomfortable at first, may be good for employees, who, frankly, are tired of everything being super-duper-fake at work. In the same way that it’s good for business to connect socially to customers and partners, social business may be good for teams in the long run. We all say we want authenticity, but social sites tend to actually bring that authenticity to the fore — sometimes with bad results, but more often and less spectacularly, with pretty good results. This will be interesting to watch over the next few years.
So the larger point for me is that we ignore social business at our peril. Defend against bad things, yes. Help the business take advantage of good things, yes. Ignore? Heck no.