How Facebook improves productivity

Yes, it actually does improve productivity, admittedly in our social lives at present but there’s no reason not to see the same techniques being used at work.

Lets take the classic before and after:


Single inbox / Single telephone line

40 socially related messages a day come into my inbox varying from:

  • party invites
  • group banter
  • suggestions and ideas
  • jokes and funnies
  • photos of newborn babies / wedding snaps

It would be fair to say that I am not equally interested in all these – I am more interested in party invites than jokes and funnies, I like the odd photo of a wedding, especially if I was there, but not the full 600 photographer set.

In the past I had to go through each of these 40 emails in turn to discover if it was socially important or a “nice to have” to be read when I had some spare time.

Now, with Facebook this prioritising of communications (or “triage”) saves me the time and hassle of doing this:

  • party invites are important and I get an email notification
  • group banter I don’t hear about unless I visit the group or it’s related to me (on my wall)
  • suggestions and ideas I might see if I visit my newsfeed and see what others are up to or are posting about but if I don’t have time I don’t get overloaded
  • jokes and funnies – I can choose to install Super Wall (an application) and get notifications – or I can again just pop in to see them on my news feed if I’m in need of cheering up
  • if its a photo of a baby then that can be shared directly with me (if I’m close enough – i.e. an uncle) or shared quietly (I might spot it if I happen to log in). So I only see baby photos of the people whose babies I actually have a chance of meeting.
  • For wedding photos the Facebook tag shows me only the photos that are of me first (vanity checking) and only if I choose to do I surf the rest

So long term the Facebook system is helping me process the flow of digital social communication to increase my social productivity – I can focus on what’s important socially.

Now we just need to see apps that do the same for the flow of business productivity…


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