Can Facebook give enterprise social networking life?

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Enterprise social networking may finally get its chance to shine. According to a Fortune article, Facebook is getting ready to release its business-focused social network product in the next few months.

Facebook at Work hopes to capitalize on the success of the consumer social networking site, but instead of being a public space for people to post updates, share photos and argue about politics, the business-focused version will be a private network that resides only within an enterprise.

Fortune noted almost 300 companies have participated in the beta testing, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Club Med. It's a small number compared to the 60,000 companies that applied to be in the beta program. Facebook plans to let more companies into its beta program over the next few weeks.

Social networking is still working its way into the enterprise; and if it's successful in doing so, there are those who believe it could spell the end of internal emails. Of course, it's hardly the first time the death of email has been predicted, so consider me skeptical that these enterprise social networks will spell the end of what is still in many ways the preferred way to communicate.

Facebook could pave the way for the future of enterprise social collaboration, though. Using familiar features for sharing information and collaborating, maybe Facebook for Work will succeed. Overall, it's a sign of the continuing changes being made to business communications and collaboration. - Chris, @NorthernTalbot