Today there are stories everyplace about social media sites such as Facebook. Everyone I know is on it – my kids, my mom, workmates, classmates, and old friends from college & high school. I love reconnecting with old friends, and playing Mafia Wars (I am not going to deny it).
So is Facebook just for fun and games? Can you really use Facebook to do anything related to work (or learning)?
Absolutely YES. I’ll explain with a story.
As may you know I work at EMC developing training for our Network management products. Our internal audience is small compared to the internal audiences that support our storage products, so once you are in this space it doesn’t take long to meet everyone. I met Mark when I first started in the space, and we connected right away because he’s from south of Atlanta and knows exactly where my hometown is. He was also in school like I am.
Unfortunately, Mark was a victim of our cost saving efforts. But we were already friends on Facebook, so we would comment every once in a while about our status. Last week he made a comment about being busy with school (lots of those comments during midterms!) and we started up a conversation on Facebook.
I found out from that conversation that Mark is now at NetQoS. Which is pretty interesting, since EMC Smarts can now be connected to NetQoS. And that connection is sorta/kinda related to some training I just started working on.
So Facebook has kept me related to my GA friend Mark. Because of our common connections (school and the South) we were able to unearth another connection, one that may come in handy for upcoming projects.
I’m connected to other field guys on Facebook as well. Seeing pictures of their families, their hobbies, even seeing their answers to those infamous notes help connect with them as real people, not just an audience that consumes the training I write. My friend Dave Spencer wrote about this a while back when he asked if you should friend your boss on Facebook.
So I can’t really do work on Facebook, but getting work done is enabled because of the social connections I have strengthend on Facebook.
Now having said all this, you have to remember that all of these sites are tools. You have to understand how to manage them, and even if you want to be involved with them at all. But that is going to have to be a post for another day.