Wednesday, November 17, 2010

At Facebook, Dot Com
According to this Forbes article, Facebook’s latest novelties will not only be the college kid’s playground, but a boon for companies as well.  Gone are the days, says Forbes, when employees would block workers’ access to social networks. Integrated networks like Facebook may very well be the language of business communications.

What are these novelties? On November 15, Facebook announced that it will soon launch an upgrade of its messaging service, Facebook Messages. This new and improved communication platform will merge the most popular communication media: Facebook Messages, SMS, chat and email.
This allows a live conversation to happen through a juggling of any of these media. If you’re a fan of SMS, for instance, you can reply to a Message using your phone, directly to the inbox of the sender. The inbox, soon to be the ‘Social Inbox,’ will act as a ‘net,’ trapping any sort of message sent or received. The Facebook Message may become Every Message.
That’s not all. Facebook will give an email address to everyone who wants one, whether they have a Facebook profile or not.  will also be merged with the Social Inbox.
Many predict that if Facebook can match the functionality of email clients like Gmail, it will give the Hotmails and the Gmails a run for their money. On a similar vein, Gartner says 20% of workers will use social networks as their preferred vehicle for business communications by 2014.
The Facebook blog claims that the idea behind Messages is to tear down barriers to communication. If there is something worth saying, the message should reach its recipient right away, unimpeded by something as technical as the recipient not currently being online on MSN messenger, or not checking their Yahoo!mail often enough.
Perhaps the idea beneath this idea is that Facebook wants to ensure that people’s attention is on Facebook, all the time, everywhere.
For a change.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It Says To Be Human is To Be Wired

Thanks to Lenore for alerting me to this AT&T video, It Says, which I am adding to my short list of brilliant if nefarious ads which promote technology as benevolent, empowering, and totally embedded (or about to be, or should be) in our day-to-day lives and key rituals--

--here represented by bedtime, driving, shopping, and dating, and culminating in getting married!

Anyone else uncomfortable with this representation or have comments?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Business, Evil Business

Some schools are stepping it up from a nondescript honor code to a more specific honor code of business.

Leslie Wayne tells us more in this New York Times article: According to this, 20% of Harvard's business grads have signed 'The MBA Oath,' which urges tomorrow's business managers to care about how they fill up their bank accounts; to pursue their "narrow ambitions" less and to serve society a little more than, say, the Enron days.

Basically, it's an affirmation of CSR's increasing importance in business. It is probably naive to roll out the peace signs, but  it is true at least that business schools are offering a lot more business ethics courses than they did twenty years ago.
Modern life seems to be squeezing business down a funnel, forcing it to reshape itself into a more ethical social actor. More than ever, we are aware of the admonishing fingers pointed at Business, evil Business. We are now raising kids who will have the weight of the gasping environment on their shoulders. We are also still licking our wounds (and stiching up our wallets) after an economic let-down that was so much more than a "technical blip."  At face value, it seems business is starting to reflect people's desire for lives that mean more, and for organizations that care more. 

And beyond face value? Time, and products, will tell. But for now, let's assume that all the rallying for sanity is starting to pay off. Pun decidedly not intended.