Bill Gates Quits Facebook -- But Should You?

By Carolyn April  |  Posted 2009-07-27 Email Print this article Print

Here's one of those cautionary tales about social networking: Too much can be WAY too much, even for techno-god Bill Gates.

Gates quit Facebook this week. He said he's been just deluged by invites and messages and can't spend the time to figure out if these are people he even knows. Sound familiar? We all get friend requests from people who write intimately and enthusiastically about reconnecting to us and well, we have no idea who they are.

In Gates' case, he said it was 10,000 some-odd entreaties and it was just too much. He shut down his Facebook page as unmanageable and warned that despite technology's myriad benefits, some aspects of it - no fingers pointed - can be a colossal waste of time.

His point is well taken, but many solution providers are finding innovative ways to use social networking outlets like Facebook and Twitter to create networking communities and market their own businesses better. That's the upside to this medium.

Consider Mike Mogavero, executive vice president at Data Systems Worldwide in Woodland Hills, Calif., who uses social networking as a business tool, but is careful to avoid the pitfalls of wasted time and productivity.

"We see companies out there getting tons of funding for creating games on Facebook that has no revenue model at all," Mogavero said. His company, he added, does network solutions and is focusing of late on projects involving the creation of "smart buildings." Outlets like Facebook and Twitter have helped him connect with others around this emerging solutions area.

"My goal is to not use Twitter as a trafficking thing, but for building an online community of thought leadership around our specific area, so as we are doing projects we can reach out to others also doing this stuff," he explained "It's a small group of people right now doing this."

This use of social networking makes perfect sense for savvy solution providers looking to establish themselves in emerging fields and find likeminded partners. The tool is merely that, a tool in an otherwise well-crafted business model. When someone 'friends' you in this context, it's not just noise or a waste of time, even Mr. Gates would have to agree on that.


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