by Al Sacco

Facebook for BlackBerry Hits 1M Downloads; Consumer App Finds Home on Business Phones?

Apr 02, 2008 3 mins
Enterprise Applications

Research In Motion (RIM) on Tuesday announced that the Facebook for BlackBerry application had reached the one million download mark. Though the company recently targeted consumers with its Pearl and Curve smartphones, the BlackBerry is king in the enterprise, and the news suggests a growing percentage of corporate users are poking their Facebook Friends, uploading images and writing on Walls with their business phones.

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I use Facebook for BlackBerry everyday, and it seems to me that Facebook itself is fast becoming a business-friendly social networking site to rival LinkedIn. Every week, I add more colleagues to my Friends List—in fact, I now have more coworkers and business acquaintances on my page than personal friends. And I have just as many Facebook Friends as I do LinkedIn Connections.

Facebook for BlackBerry is one of many mobile apps that are catching the attention of corporate users today, and it’s leading them to further investigate the site that until as-of-late had been branded strictly Gen-Y. The networking potential—and the fact that everyone in the world seems to be using the site—makes it tough to ignore. Sure, business users need to be heedful of the information they expose about themselves and the people they “Friend,” but so should everyone else using the service. A combination of online education, awareness and strict privacy controls can be enough to mitigate most of the risk, it’s just a matter of doing social networking right.

And I’m increasingly finding myself using the mobile version of Facebook because, well, it’s easy and it’s always with me.

Though I have a number of minor complaints about Facebook for BlackBerry—for instance, the app displays the last status update I submitted using my mobile phone rather than a more recent submission posted through the desktop version of Facebook or my Twitter widget—I think it’s great, overall. Along with my mobile RSS reader, it’s the application I use most frequently.

image of three BlackBerry smartphones with the Facebook for BlackBerry application
Facebook for BlackBerry

A while back I blogged about consumer applications on business smartphones, and asked whether their benefits outweigh the associated security risks or potential productivity losses. I didn’t get many responses, but I also didn’t name any specific apps in that post, and I’m hoping my focus on Facebook for BlackBerry this time around will get some of you to share your feedback.

First of all, do you use Facebook for BlackBerry, and if so, what are your general impressions? Do you use the application on your corporate-issued smartphone? Does your organization block such apps? Why or why not?