If LinkedIn and Facebook hooked up and had a baby, the result would be Facebook at Work: the same familiar scrolling timeline, ability to like posts, and chat functionality found in Facebook, combined with the professionals-only atmosphere of LinkedIn. Expect Facebook at Work to arrive early in 2016.
On one hand, the impending arrival of Facebook at Work is good news. Many, many people have run into difficulty keeping their personal and professional lives distinct from each other. Personal security concerns have led many who work in potentially contentious professions, such as education, health care, or law enforcement, to use social media under the most tightly-controlled conditions, with maximum privacy lockdowns in place, or eschew it entirely – a choice that, while entirely understandable, is not without professional ramifications.
Additionally, while Facebook is fun, no one can argue that it’s focused. Valuable professional content may very well be on Facebook as it exists right now – but it’s mixed up with baby pictures, funny memes, and far more Donald Trump than anyone ever wanted, ever. (Donald Trump, obviously, excepted.) Having a streamlined, professionally focused version of Facebook can legitimize all of those claims of essential networking, maintaining industry awareness, and professional development employees have been making for years.
Still, the arrival of a new social network has its drawbacks. There will be a honeymoon period, with the requisite hubbub of how essential Facebook for Work will be for every single person on the planet; expect to see lots of content focused on how to optimize your professional profile for your specific career goals to start showing up shortly. There’s work involved, and no one’s sure yet if the time that goes into maintaining a Facebook for Work presence is time that will be taken from the time today’s workers are already devoting to Facebook – or from other essential professional duties. There will be growing pains as those in B2B and B2C industries discover what Facebook for Work means for them. Additionally, you know that there will be advertising and marketing opportunities made available that may or may not have significant merit.
We still have a few months before Facebook for Work arrives. But now that you know it’s coming, it’s a good idea to start thinking through how you’ll be using this tool: who would you like to connect with, what learning opportunities will you want to create or capitalize on? 2016 will be here before you know it, and so will Facebook for Work.