In Facebook for the Enterprise = Facebook, Dennis Howlett echoes some of the same themes articulated by Don Tapscott at last week's Enterprise 2.0. The underlying premise of both men's arguments is that Facebook generation will wipe out the command control infrastructure in business today.
Chatting with Schuyler Deerman on Skype the other day, we swapped observations about this phenomenon. Schuyler noted that Facebook traffic is climbing at a phenomenal rate, and that this year's graduating class is the first "Facebook class" — where Facebook has been a part of their lives from the start of school. The research I've done tends to bear that out. The chart below, for instance, was created from some public data provided by Facebook themselves in March. Amongst workforce users (those aged 25-64) Facebook use is growing at 200% of the rate that student usage is growing. The green highlighted areas are extrapolations, from that data, showing that there may be over 7 million workforce users of Facebook today. It could easily reach 15 million by years end.
It seems clear that as college students graduate, Facebook is providing them with a unique opportunity to maintain the network they cultivated in that environment, and transport it into the workplace. Moreover, a significant number of those people are choosing to dramatically enlarge that network by adding wordplace friends.
In retrospect, it's easy to draw the threads together and conclude that Facebook's decision to open the platform, coupled with their earlier decision to open the community, was a calculated move to generate this activity.