Ramon Thomas Facebook profileFacebook is a social networking website dedicated to user-generated content and global connectivity. At its heart is the individual user, who creates a profile and then searches for friends already on the network. Complements to that initial concept include groups dedicated to a multitude of interests including religion, sport or even profession. Applications on Facebook created by users, and more and more by companies, allow users to add even more interactivity into their profiles. An entire software development industry has sprung up supporting these applications, which allow for greater participation and often as a ‘get to know you’ for strangers who meet on Facebook.

More and more, Facebook is finding new ways of entertaining users as a social platform and, now, as a possible source for other forms of networking as well. Take, for example, the Marketplace facility on Facebook which now contains advertisements for jobs from large traded companies and business opportunities. Anyone who works in a large company is likely to find a network dedicated to employees of that company. Large networks in South Africa include Investec, Deloitte and ABSA, who actually has their own Fan Page. Therefore, Facebook is fast becoming a place for associates and colleagues to interact as well.

Facebook currently has over 80 million active users worldwide with over 682,789 users from South Africa. Its impact has spread to such a large extent that its projected membership by 2009 is predicted to double. A look at the costs and benefits of this trend is, therefore, timely and will serve businesses as well as users in terms of how to use Facebook and how to ensure that productivity and growth are not compromised.

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Where do you think Facebook is going in the South African workplace?