Facebook Pursues Corporate America

Posted on April 27, 2006

Inside Facebook reports that Facebook has started offering its social networking service to large corporations. Only people with emails at ten pre-selected corporations, including Amazon, Gap and Microsoft, are allowed to register so far. One non-profit, Teach for America, was also invited to the small rollout.

How will this affect the millions of students already on the service? I suspect that Facebook will work hard to make sure that the corporate crowd stays in one corner and the college crowd in another as much as they can-no 19 year old likes getting "poked" by someone in their 40's-just as they have done with the recent expansion into high schools. As long as Facebook stays safe for students, expanding into the corporate world should not adversely affect their dominance in the college and high school markets.

How popular will Facebook be with corporate users? While the rollout will likely create buzz in some circles, I don't think you'll see the same phenomenal viral exponent or use patterns over time. Professionals just don't talk to dozens of classmates a day or live in dorms with hundreds of peers, and they certainly don't have 51 minutes a day to spend looking at cute members of the opposite sex and writing on each others' walls...

Inside Facebook has a point but there are already other social networking services chasing Corporate America. Visible Path and LinkedIn were two that were discussed in Business Week's recent MySpace for the Office article.

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