Saturday, October 06, 2007

Should Theater Be a Part of Work?

In today's NY Times, Alice Mathias has an article entitled, "The Fakebook Generation". In it, Alice, who is a recent college graduate, talks about Facebook being closer to theater than a functional tool...
Facebook did not become popular because it was a functional tool — after all, most college students live in close quarters with the majority of their Facebook friends and have no need for social networking. Instead, we log into the Web site because it’s entertaining to watch a constantly evolving narrative starring the other people in the library.
For young people, Facebook is yet another form of escapism; we can turn our lives into stage dramas and relationships into comedy routines. Make believe is not part of the postgraduate Facebook user’s agenda. As more and more older users try to turn Facebook into a legitimate social reference guide, younger people may follow suit and stop treating it as a circus ring. But let’s hope not.
I'm with Alice. I have been in many conversations with colleagues where we ask, "what's up with all of this Facebook stuff?", especially when it comes to its use in business. I agree that Facebook does some things well -- it gives you a better feel for an individual over other people-related services like LinkedIn, it fulfills our needs to be voyeurs, etc. I don't see, however, how it provides functionality that lends itself to be a serious business tool; unless, you happen to work in theater production.

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