The Buzz

« History is Written by the Tweeters | Main | Survey Says ... COMMON Europe Looking for Top IT Concerns »

May 05, 2010

Making Facebook Work For You

By Natalie Boike

As a communicator, I’m always searching for ways to not just improve my message, but also how it’s delivered. While I admit I use Facebook, Twitter and other social-media sites for personal use, I often have a hard time knowing if these channels are appropriate for work-related communications.

IBM Systems Magazine has been tweeting for nearly a year now (follow @aixmag, @ibmimag or @mainframemag). Thus far, we haven't joined the Facebook space. The main argument being: our audience is clearly a working professional, so it may not be appropriate to be friending and liking while at work. While the choice to be absent from Facebook is a group decision and one I support, it’s also one I think about from time to time.

A few weeks ago I attended a round table discussion with the Geek Girls Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker. One thing they said that got my gears going, is that you can’t easily separate your work and personal life in the social-media space because there is an overlap in the real world. There are IBMers and IBM customers who have Facebook profiles, and they post work-related items to their pages. Even if they’re OK with the overlap, I still struggle with the magazine’s place on Facebook.

Then, a coworker sent me a link to a blog post titled “3 Facebook Myths Dispelled.” In myth number three, the author claims “Facebook marketing worked better than any single tactic we used at IBM in 2009.” Of course, there are a lot of questions unanswered in this blog post and no specifics about the other “tactics” they employed on IBM’s behalf. But, I’m starting to come around. I mean, if IBM is using Facebook and having success, then why not IBM Systems Magazine?

I will also admit, I’ve had a lot of success connecting with readers on Twitter. I’ve recruited writers for the magazine and our website, I’ve discovered events that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about and I’ve even found customers who have success stories they’re willing to share in a magazine case study. So the question becomes: Is this enough, or is there even more to be gained from joining Facebook?

What do you think? Have you had any work successes on Facebook? Would you “like” IBM Systems Magazine if we had a Facebook page?


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Making Facebook Work For You:


I primarily use Facebook for non-professional pursuits. Their privacy policy has, in recent months, given me some pause even for that.

I am inclined to agree that Facebook is a predominantly "personal" medium that I tend to use to keep up with family members.

I use Twitter primarily for business pursuits, although I do find it useful for personal stuff too!!!

Twitter is a great all rounder, for keeping up on all sorts of subjects, just love it really.

Interesting note on whether facebook can be used for work-related communications. I feel that usage of these social media sites like twitter, facebook etc for work-related or personal use depends on the person or the entity in question. Different people or groups or organizations can use it for different purposes. For eg,as mentioned in your comment IBM used facebook for marketing while as you mentioned you use it for personal use. Similarly, I use it twitter for share my professional thoughts while one of my friend uses it in personal domain.

Among these, I feel what is important is that one should clearly distinguish between personal & work-related front. For eg: Someone should not tweet on work related things & also say that they had coffee. If they want to do that, probably that can have one more identity in the name of their group/company or individual(though I think individual should be always be one:)). While doing that, a personal or a professional brand should be slowly established which gives credibility for followers or friends that it is what they want. Having said that a line should be drawn between personal & work-related front, the reality is also that one cannot have a good professional or work-related life without a good personal life(we can see lots of such examples in the world) and thats the reason why I feel facebook is a hit when it comes to marketing.Coming back to IBM system magazine having a facebook page, it has to brainstormed & if possible may be a poll can be conducted on it's twitter followers or linkedin connections, if its on linkedn. But, one thing which can definitely happen is that every social networking site has it's own fan base and thus having an account there will increase the fan base.

I have "liked" several I.T. related websites and periodicals and it does come in handy. Once in a while I come across a posting that I will share with my friends (usually security related). They are also longer than a tweet so I don't have to decrypt the message or click on a tiny url (dangerous) to read more. Like anything in life, you have to find balance. If IBM Systems Magazine was on Facebook, I'd "like" it.

The comments to this entry are closed.