Facebook will enable more people to start and run their own businesses, according to a new study from Sweden’s Uppsala University. It will also change the ways people work. “A realistic effect of social media is that many costs of running operations will decline in the long run,” said Håkan Selg, the study’s author and a doctoral candidate at Uppsala University.
The study clearly has an academic, rather than popular, audience in mind. “Drivel on Facebook more valuable than we think,” runs the snooty headline of the press release. The release also refers to the “so-called friends” of Facebook, and twice puts the word “friends” in scare quotes.
That social media might not be entirely drivel is not exactly a new idea to many of us, which leads me to wonder if Selg’s report is simply an instance of severe academy-induced lag time on a basic realization. We know, too, that Facebook, Twitter, etc. serve a commercial function, otherwise businesses would not be flocking to them.
Where Selg seems to offer a novel insight is in his vision that social networks, and an increasingly networked world generally, could lead to a new era of individual entrepreneurship: Facebook as business platform (there are already mini-Facebook’s targeted to enterprise, including Zoho and Yammer). Selg’s report is apparently thorough, running 63 pages. It’s also in Swedish, a language Fast Company‘s staff needs to brush up on. We’ve put in requests for comment to Selg to see if he has compelling data to back up his assertion, and will let you know when he responds.