Facebook & Unintended Consequences

Being a social network revolving around an individual’s personal life, Facebook’s allure to consumer goods companies and B2C brands has been obvious.

But, when it came to B2B, I never “got” Facebook.

Like Stanley Bing in The big yawn, Facebook’s emphasis on friend has always made me wonder, ‘what do we mean by the word “friend”?’ when you’re dealing with businesses. Standard friend-centered arguments in favor of doing Facebook didn’t seem too relevant in the business-to-business world where customers and other business partners are not exactly friends in the conventional sense of the term. In any case, the extra efforts of creating a Facebook page and keeping it updated regularly didn’t seem worthwhile considering the amount of time already spent on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Fast forward to around two months ago when I heard from more than one trusted and authoritative source that Facebook delivers unintended consequences – mostly favorable – even in technology and other B2B settings.

Curious to explore this facet, I recently dove deep into Facebook.

And I must say that I’m pleased with the initial results.

fb01_250wWithin a week of blundering about inside my Facebook Wall – I must admit that I’m still not proficient in it – I happened to find out that my alma mater SIES College in Bombay recently celebrated a reunion of its alumni. Since I’ve been out of touch with virtually everyone from my batch of First Year Junior College at SIES, I’d have never known about this event but for Facebook.

Besides providing an excellent opportunity for networking with ex-batchmates, the reunion was also a great occasion to catch up with old friends after 26 years. And, since I was anyway in Bombay that week to attend the IIT Bombay Class of 85 Silver Jubilee Reunion, attending the SIES reunion didn’t even demand any additional travel.

If only I’d logged on to Facebook a week or two earlier, I’d have enjoyed the ‘unintended consequence’ of learning about this event and could have benefited by attending it.

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