Last week's news that HP is launching a social network for the IT crowd raises interesting questions about the utility of a Facebook-like environment for serious career networking and problem solving. The new site, called 48Upper (named after an HP building) aims to sweep aside old prejudices. "We have lived with the stereotype of being introverted, pessimistic loners for too long," declares the site.

Will You Join HP's Gearhead Social Network?With a nod toward users of HP's own system management tools, the site includes collaboration, the "friends" concept and ways to share knowledge. One big advantage such an environment may offer is the chance for IT pros to seek out answers without having to hop around from one vendor's Web site to another in search of discussion forums where maybe, just maybe, someone will respond.

The site also promises to have plenty of levels of privacy to assuage concerns that people prone to oversharing might reveal company secrets.

For another take on the concept and HP's execution of it, here's an analysis from IT Business Edge.

Are you ready to join "the first Social Collaborative IT Management solution to fully embrace social networking and the power of the community directly within the processes that run IT?" Take a look at the site preview and decide.

-- Don Willmott