3 big reasons why open Social Networking services shouldn’t be Intranet tools

It’s been a long while since I wrote my last post, but it was just that I have not been very inspired…. However, while I have made very good progress on my investigation work for my company, I’ve got a few pieces of thoughts I would like to share. This time is about Social Networking Services like Facebook, MySpace (or even LinkedIn) and their suitability as corporate Intranet tools. We all know that many firms are begining to embrace these services as part of their corporate Intranets, probably motivated by the null costs on implementation and deployment, but forgetting about the security issues this approach could bring on. Below is a list of 3 big reasons why these open social networking services must not be used as Intranet tools:

  • Security. The use of these services as corporate intranets must be restricted by two factors: corporate information security and individual privacy. Although these services provide users with strong security features, they have not been designed for business purposes and companies do not want their delicate organizational information to be openly published without having the ultimate control of who can access that information, since that corporate data is not hosted behind the firewall. In any case, many supporters claim that all what other users can learn about you is the name of your company and not much more, as long as you don’t store private documents in that service.
  • Not enterprise ready. These free services have not been designed to be used as corporate tools and they are losing enterprise core features, needless to say integration with other organizational Intranet tools. Users can’t make the most of them in an enterprise context: most of the applications around Facebook are too frivolous (i.e. Vampires) and almost none of them are suitable for business purposes.
  • Identity issues. Many employees already using open Social Networking services for personal purposes are not willing to share their personal identities (probably with too much personal information) with co-workers or customers. Consequently, these people are likely to create a professional orientated alter-user to be used for business goals only. This effect is just the opposite of what Web 2.0 is promoting, this is, a unique e-identity for each one of us, being globally recognized trough our connections and contributions.

Well, this is my position about this. I see more risks than benefits for companies if they want to use Facebook as their corporate Intranets, but sure you will have more thoughts about this topic.
Note: This text is an intellecutal property of my company. Be careful if you want to reference it.