The Independent should not be surprised that it is a popular phenomenon in universities - after all, that is what it was designed for. But I am struck that Facebook is becoming part of my own working environment too. Well over half of my Facebook friends list are professional contacts, mostly people of my age and below (including a group of my former interns). In the last few months, I have found myself arranging meetings with British parliamentarians, Scandinavian diplomats, and European Union officials via Facebook.
I suspect there is one particularly attractive feature that Facebook has for those of us working in international policy. It presents the illusion of a relatively secure communications environment. Emails can easily be forwarded, deliberately or accidentally, from one person to another, as we all know to our cost. Your Facebook correspondence is in its own secure space, and while one can always take screenshots or otherwise cut-n-paste, it takes much more determination to leak.
At a time when, we are told, more and more people are moving off email and onto the social networks for their basic leisure on-line communication, Facebook seems to be in the lead for professional networking as well.