Facebook and LinkedIn Compete to Be Your Company’s Private Social Network

HR, Industry News, Social Tech

Facebook and LinkedIn want to make it easier for your employees to collaborate at work, regardless of your corporate social media policy.

The two social networking giants have separately announced new enterprise products that attempt to replace the dreaded work email and challenge new and old workplace collaboration tools.

This week, select clients have begun to test Facebook’s new enterprise product, Facebook at Work, which gives organizations  private, intra-office versions of the Facebook platform with which to share content across work groups.

Don’t fear: Facebook and Facebook at Work worlds will not collide—profiles and networks are completely separate between the two platforms. However, Facebook at Work promises a nearly identical user experience to that of Facebook, which allows for a minimal learning curve when adopting the service as many are already familiar with Facebook’s overall look, feel, and functionality.

Facebook at Work

LinkedIn is launching two separate products, the first of which takes a version of InMail— LinkedIn’s private messaging system—and gives it to colleagues to communicate directly with one another even if they are not already connected on LinkedIn. Employees could also upload their phone and email information, and thus the service could act as a database for company contact info. The second product promotes and enhances content sharing within the organization, allowing individuals to share blog-like posts to specific work groups within the company.

The move marks the first time the two networks will be competing for the same territory and population—the enterprise workplace and the employees within that workplace. Although LinkedIn is seen as the professional social network, the platform is most widely used for recruiting, employer branding, and job searching—activities which do not typically involve current colleagues or employers. For Facebook, being the online home for more personal relationships, this move could prove to be a larger shift for the network—and if successful—a good first foothold into the world of enterprise software.

Workspace and workplace collaboration is a well-fought tech battlefield where post-email workplace collaboration tools, like Yammer, Slack, and Trello, have been challenging the more entrenched enterprise software providers like IBM. But if you have been patiently waiting for the swift death of “the work email,” don’t hold your breath: Steve Boese reported this week that “depressingly, email remains the most important technology at work.”

Nevertheless this news brings up interesting questions: Can workplace communication and collaboration change if we change the medium? Will it create for a more open, casual, and collaborative work environment? And is this a good thing? 

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