Enterprise FriendFeed

by francine Hardaway on July 6, 2008

Was walking the dogs and thinking about Twitter and Friendfeed this morning, wondering whether they are really social applications, or work applications. Skip to the end if you wish: the answer is both.

Like many other people, I had a house full of guests this weekend, and spent less time on both services than usual. When I was there, the conversation was often about "where is everybody?" and "How quiet Twitter is."

That led me to thoughts of how these services are really used, and how often they are used by people during the work day or the work week (albeit those have themselves changed) as opposed to how often they are used for recreation or on holiday.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the people I know use these services for work. They’re media people, PR people, marketing people, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and these are their "enterprise" apps.

In the enterprise itself, people use other apps, mostly contained within the firewall. So we microblogging early adopters aren’t really using these as our social apps at all. We are merely outsiders to the enterprise (mostly by choice) and thus we have built our enterprise in the cloud.

We learned the computer at work or school and took it home, unless we happened to be in the tech world. When we grew up, it wasn’t in the house. We didn’t play on it in our spare time.

However, there’s a whole "other" group of people on Twitter and Friendfeed and all the other social networks, and they are college students and youth. They are the digital natives, the Millenials, the children who have grown up with computers and cell phones and never walk away from them. While we have much in common with these "kids," who virally spread the applications we adults develop for them, they are using the tools differently than we are. To them, they are the tools of the home.

We are using them to build our brands, get work, do work. They are using them only to talk to friends.

When they get into the workplace, however, they will immediately demand the tools they use to talk to their friends. That’s already beginning to happen. They wanted IM on the job, so they got it. The will want Twitter and Friendfeed on the job and they will get those, as well. They will spread their tools from home to work, as we always spread ours from work to home.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Meryl Steinberg July 6, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Linked to this from your comment on Chris Brogan’s blog. I,too, have been thinking about how enterprise will adapt to digital natives. Not only are your observations cogent, your writing style is elegant. I’m signing up.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: