This obviously has been one of the talks of the week - in terms of Microsoft buying a very small stake in Facebook (1.6%).
I think that in the next iteration of Sharepoint for enterprises, I won't be too surprised to see something I started advocating 2 years ago - ie a personal web site within an enterprise and for people within enterprises to set up their own communities of practice covering an area of interest be it work or socially related.
I read a quote in Doug Cornelius's blog from Stephen Collins who said
Through use of social media tools, people who work around the corner or across the world from each other are able to overcome the challenges around meeting and learning about someone (colleague, friend, someone who shares an interest, whatever) and jump straight in and do great work, share knowledge, have engaging conversations and build relationships to a deeper level more quickly."
I do have ideas how this could be used throughout the employees life from induction, to appraisals to when they depart the firm - as I feel that tracking alumni of a firm is important in terms of retaining their knowledge
It will be interesting to see though whether at some stage Googles new social software site will link in with it's Google Apps to give people a way to do the same without the clammy embrace of Microsoft all over it.
I was reading a report yesterday that people outside of the teenage/20's range that started to use social networking are now starting to use MySpace and Facebook - the so called "Saga Book" for those in their 60's and beyond. One of the problems that I have discovered with new technology is people's fear of using it either dismissing it as a fad or saying that it has no work relevance. I didn't grow up in the computer age but I discovered by setting up small limited experiments in a non fail setting helped people who were wary come to terms with the new technology at a speed that they feel comfortable with.
If you are working in a large global concern then social media can help in breaking down barriers in that first meeting because they have put some personal information about them selves - ie they like Apple Computers or share a sports interest that you can build on and start to understand their thought processes.