A reader disagrees with my contention in Monday’s Financial Post that “If you are not on Facebook by the end of '08, you'll be sending out the signal you're not serious about building your business."
He says he’s played around on Facebook and found it fine for staying in touch with friends and family, but sees no signs of it becoming a useful business tool.
Here’s how I responded to his email:
“Thanks for your note, xxxxx. I agree with much of what you say. For the most part, Facebook is still an awkward teen that doesn't know what it is going to be when it grows up.
“Just in the past few months, however, I have seen a new energy in Facebook. More and more people I know have joined and are actively playing with it. They are using it to stay in touch with friends and business colleagues alike. Some have two identities - one for friends and family, the other for business acquaintances, groups and networking.
“The new applications being created daily for Facebook are mainly juvenile and leisure-oriented, but I predict that more and more business applications will be developed. Just as important, there will also be more and more business-related groups that will find creative ways to use text, blogs, messaging and video to connect and inform their members.
“I also think that the prospects who have been Googling you before doing business with you will increasingly be checking you out in Facebook as well. (They will even judge you by who your "friends" are.) If you can maintain a mature, professional posture on Facebook, moderately self-promotional but demonstrating openness to your community, I believe it will say much about your qualifications and integrity.
“Also, targeted advertising through Facebook (much like Google AdSense) will increasingly become a useful tool for niche marketers. How can you begin to understand the potential of this new medium unless you are already familiar with the Facebook environment?
“I am not a Facebook expert, a raving fan or an apologist. I have been casually studying it for a few months, and I came gradually to the conclusion that it is going to be a useful entrepreneurial tool. It's probably not for everybody, but it's potentially very powerful for some. There's only one way to find out if it's right for you, which is why I encourage business owners to dip their toes in."
That's what I wrote. What do you think?