By C.G. Lynch, CIO.com
Most Facebook developers will tell you that they create two different kinds of widgets. There are widgets of expression, geared towards harnessing the viral aspect of Facebook by getting users to share the app with other users.
These “expression” widgets often don’t have much of a goal beyond entertainment. One, for instance, lets users share movie ratings. Another helps users build “virtual scrapbooks.” The second kind is the utilitarian widget, which include clocks, weather reports and other helpful accessories.
We scoured the widget libraries and came up with five of our favorites for business users based on their utility for getting the job done. Feel free to add suggestions in the comment space below for widgets that we might have missed.
Face it. E-mail has become so passi for document authoring that writing this sentence explaining that to you even seems a bit trite. The exhausting task of opening, renaming, saving and then sending a file (then repeat) leads to no version of the truth. So why not a wiki instead? The principle behind Wikimono is as simple as their website, which says, “We love Facebook, we love wikis.” You might love how discreetly you can bookmark the wikis on your Facebook profile and the decent set of editing tools that comes with it. And when we say decent, we don’t just mean bold, italics and underline. As you can see from this spec list, you can add video, math formulas, maps and all kinds of pictures. Use Wikimono to plan the agenda for your next meeting or take food requests for your holiday party.
Booooo-ring, yes, but necessary for the business user since Facebook still gears its site towards the consumer experience. Though you can list your professional experience under the built in “Information” app of Facebook, it still doesn’t match the depth and breadth of the curriculum vitae that you can build on your LinkedIn profile and then share with other professionals. Some Facebook Apps help you upload your LinkedIn profile to your actual Facebook profile, but this simple badge seems to do the trick just fine.
3) Sticky Notes
The first response you might get if you add this helpful widget will be “but what about the wall? Can’t you just use that?” They’re referring to the built-in Facebook app that allows friends (or people who have access to your Facebook page) to leave a messages for you publicly. The problem? Most walls tend to be a laundry list of social comments and inside jokes that eventually blur together, especially if you get a ton of them. If someone added “meet with team at 3 p.m.” to your own wall, for instance, there’s a good chance you’d miss it. Sticky Notes are big and come in a variety of colors (we prefer the standard yellow). Created by J-Squared Media, a small widget company that sprung up in large part because of Sticky Notes’ success, the app already has around 200,000 active users. You can leave notes for yourself on your own page, or you can leave them for colleagues (provided they have the app as well).
Another way to keep project management away from your e-mail inbox (where it doesn’t belong) is to have internal blogs. If you’ve made that leap, why not feed them to your Facebook page? We picked this reader over several other RSS widgets on the Facebook App list because it can pull from enterprise-worthy blogging apps such as Movable Type. As updates to a project occur, the blog entries feed through the Reader and onto your Facebook page.
5) Marco Polo
If you work for one of the Big Corporations, odds are your workforce is spread across the country or maybe even the world. By utilizing this Facebook news feed with mapping technology, you can track the location of your friends and colleagues. Need to plan a business meeting? Just get a view of where everyone is currently located and find the most convenient location. If you want to let you’re friends know you’re on the road on business, check out Marco Polo‘s notification tool.