Could Facebook kick-start the British economy?

Opinion

Could Facebook kick-start the British economy?

Don't laugh, but there's a theory that Facebook, Google +, Twitter, ShinDig and the like could help kick start the British economy.

Well Facebook could. Thanks to Moonfruit, a web publisher, you can start your own shop their.

Moonfruit helps people build their own web site by creating aesthetically pleasing website designs that you can buy off the shelf. Why build your own? It's a nightmare.

Moonfruit spent the last two years perfecting another 'easy to use' template, for creating an online shop. That's not a new idea. Actinic was doing this 10 years ago - although I didn't find it particularly play and plug.

Moonfruit's masterstroke was to create a Facebook plug-in. So you can use social media to create your market and to update the shop at the same time.

Emma Jones, the CEO of StartUpBritain, a campaigning group aimed at stimulating small business growth, says SMEs are our best bet for creating economic growth. And Facebook could help SMEs to function more effectively.

"I've heard government ministers complain that SMEs are not recruiting people. He's missing the point. Today's start ups like to stay small. They stick to what they're good at and outsource the rest," says Jones, "and that's exactly what they should be doing."

SMEs won't take people on full time (with all the onerous employment contracts that entails) but they will hire people to do jobs for them. This is an arrangement that will only work for the economy if 'big company culture' is avoided. You need to find people to work for you with the minimum of fuss and without wasting time on endless meetings. "That's what people in middle management do in big companies, to justify their existence," says Jones.

The key to an efficient system for hiring partners could be social media. Which is why Moonfruit and PayPal's Guerilla Shopbuilding invention may have hit on something brilliant.

Well I hope it has. The economy needs growth and that stimulation won't come from the meeting mongering, decision dithering executives of big companies.

This was first published in October 2011

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