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Facebook in my work

A couple of people today (including Tony Keen) have linked to this article in the Independent about Facebook, academics and students.

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.

Comments

( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
watervole
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
I'm still waiting for the spam. It seems to me that fake Facebook emails are far more likely to get clicked on than almost any other kind of spam. The main security point is also potentially the main weakness.
nwhyte
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:41 am (UTC)
I've had one, from someone whose account, mysteriously, appears to have been terminated. It went as follows:
Hi handsome, has anybody told u how good looking u are lately???

I am new here and and was just browsing through profiles when I came up on your profile and pics, they are lovely and great. It shows a man that know what he wants and knows hot to go about it and say it too. Nice one.

Well I am single and is here to see if I can get me a real man that will love and take me for me. I know there are bad guys and bad girls all over the world but I know there is a gentleman made for me somehow and somewhere.

I hope we gt to know us sometime soon and get to chat and possibly meet up for a drink or something. It will be fun to be with u and meet the man behind those lovely words.

I will send my pics to u as soon as we can exchange email addresses.

Hope you u reply and take care of yourself.

Thanks

Sterline
Flattering, but not at all convincing!
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
andrewducker
Oct. 18th, 2007 10:31 am (UTC)
Yeah - the events management is the best thing about it.
(no subject) - nwhyte - Oct. 18th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nwhyte - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - akicif - Oct. 18th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nwhyte - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Oct. 18th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
birdsflying
Oct. 18th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
I find it fascinating too. My facebook is a mix of family, close friends - plus the occasionally person from school - and people I know professionally. I actually only succumbed after I attended the last annual conference for my sector and everyone was swapping facebook names etc.

Reading that article, hrm. I don't enjoy using VLEs like Web CT and I think I'd be even more unlikely to use Facebook as one. I certainly do not use the groups function as much as everyone else.
nwhyte
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
(tracks her down on Facebook)
sbisson
Oct. 18th, 2007 10:30 am (UTC)
I spent a chunk of last week at a very interesting conference in San Jose (Santa Clara really, but who notices the difference?). Called "Graphing Social Patterns" it was about Facebook, and the social and entrepreneurial networks that have built up around it.

There were some quite fascinating talks - including one from Tim O'Reilly (worth tracking down the transcripts). What was most interesting was how everyone seemed to focus down on the one-dimensional nature of "Friends" - and how this was actually a big risk. After all, you're my "friend", and I think we'd get on pretty well if we met in RL. But what about that chap I met at a conference, or the person I've linked to because it's socially (or otherwise) advantageous to me...

There's a lot of game to play out yet. I understand that FB will be allowing the equivalent of LJ Friends Groups very soon.
surliminal
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
understand that FB will be allowing the equivalent of LJ Friends Groups very soon.

That is EXACTLY what it needs to take over the universe..

There was discussion about this at my launch last night too. I repeated the matra I'd heard from some marketing expert, which was that while the USAns like seeprating their business and social SNS lifes quite easily (Linked In and facebook, typically) , in the UK we like to trust our business contacts before we reveal much of value to them - and that involves getting to know them i safe social contexts (eg golf:)

Hence oddly Linked In has not taken off much in UK but facebook has become SNS of choice for BOTH bsuines and social betyworking since it lets you to some extent blur the barriers and construct trust.

Most people last night agreed. I think however the backlash is people not trusting FB aftera bit, because indeed, you do not want your new potenatil client to see the same pix of you drunken at a hen night as your best mates. Friends Groups would solve that.
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
splinister
Oct. 18th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
Yes, it's sad to say that email is on the way out. I just heard that 95% of all email communication is now spam, which mean the 95% of everything is crap rule holds true.
martin_wisse
Oct. 18th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
Strange that it's Facebook that's being used this way and not a more business orientated social network like LinkedIn.
andrewducker
Oct. 18th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
LinkedIn always struck me as terribly impersonal.
(no subject) - nwhyte - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sbisson - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
nickbarnes
Oct. 18th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
It presents the illusion of a relatively secure communications environment
The key word here is "illusion". There's not a chance that I will ever do any real business through FaceBook, or any other system which holds my data on some unknown server, in an unknown country, governed by unknown legislation, controlled by unknown admins, managed by unknown software.
(this goes for gmail too, of course). Give me real email any day of the week.

What generates this illusion (of security)?
inuitmonster
Oct. 18th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
It presents the illusion of a relatively secure communications environment.

I bet the NSA and their pals in ECHELON find Facebook absolutely impossible to hack into.
(Screened comment)
nwhyte
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
OK, and I'm screening your comment as well to further minimise such problems!
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )

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