Data centers are great, but the real prize is doing bona fide business with the likes of Facebook. Here's how to meet some of its senior leaders this month as they discuss Workplace by Facebook.

In a time long, long ago, in the dawning days of social media, in the time before Facebook, young people were on MySpace. It was super subversive-seeming: No parents, no teachers, no bosses, and certainly no corporate brands were on MySpace, unless you count MySpace Tom. You could make up a new name like krazykat996 and change it every day, decorate a funny profile photo in Microsoft Paint and choose your Top 8 friends to display on your homepage (the drama). Rock ‘n’ roll bands could upload demos, and a Wild West culture of connections based far from the grind of daily life flourished. It was so much fun.

During the workday, it was definitely NOT allowed by employers for workers to get on MySpace, even if you were in a newsroom, and even if you made a case that you could use the social networking site to gather legitimate information and sources. I did it anyway from my home computer, giving stories a depth that went well beyond what “official” sources would share with a reporter.

By the time 2008-’09 rolled around, though, MySpace was starting to seem kind of stale. There was a better-designed platform people seemed to be flocking to: Facebook. I don’t think I need to finish this part of the story for you. Facebook, as you know, has truly disrupted how we socialize, how we consume news, how we view the world even. Like MySpace and Friendster (blast from the past!), it long has been frowned upon, even if slightly, to go on Facebook at work, and I’m sure there are employers that prevent it from being accessed from work computers. Facebook is changing that, too, however.

Workplace by Facebook is a year-old social platform very similar to regular Facebook that is being adopted at a rate much faster than rivals Slack and Microsoft’s products, says a local CEO whose company writes software making the platform safe for enterprises. Jeff Schumann, who leads Columbus-based Wiretap, is bringing the tech giant to Columbus April 9 for Thrive, an afternoon of presentations and networking about the future of work at The Vue in the Brewery District. On the agenda are conversations about the “changing game of internal communications,” “roadblocks to the connected workplace” and “best practices of digital collaboration.” Leaders from Facebook’s Workplace team and companies using Workplace by Facebook including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Chevron will be on hand. (The likes of Wal-Mart, Starbucks and GlaxoSmithKline also use it.)

Wiretap has become an important partner for Facebook and Microsoft, helping them address security and compliance barriers that prevent them from adopting technology like Workplace by Facebook, Schumann said. Factors at play include regulatory compliance, human resources needs such as guarding against discrimination and harassment, controlling the sharing of intellectual property and personal health information, and performing e-discovery on social work platforms.

Facebook executives were surprised to learn how many businesses are based in and around Columbus, Schumann says. “My hope is that Columbus puts itself in a very positive light, because Facebook is looking at it like what is Columbus all about?” he says. “Is Ohio just a flyover state or is it way more than that?”

Of course, we know it’s way more than that. To attend Facebook Thrive April 9, visit