Social Networking Comes to the Office
Here's something you should know upfront: Your editor is not on Facebook, or
MySpace, or any of the popular social networking sites of the day. A few message
boards? Sure. E-mail? A lot. The Internet in general? Pretty much all the time.
But not the social networking sites. Why? Well, it's hard to see what they
deliver on top of everything else, other than providing little ego.com spaces
for most of the people on them (and most of your editor's friends are on them,
in case you were wondering). This relative luddite still gets by on e-mail and
occasionally via telephone without much problem.
However, social networking is the phrase on everybody's lips -- and fingertips
-- and has been for a while. That's certainly the case this week, as Microsoft
and a slew of partners are releasing
"Web 2.0" (whatever that really means) social networking applications.
What we're wondering is exactly what people are doing with work-related social
networking stuff, if anything so far. A couple of quotes from the Computerworld
story linked above make us wonder. Some of the stuff, we get. Let's go directly
to the story here:
"For example...a salesperson could use iGoogle with a WorkLight gadget
to receive updates about products from multiple back-end systems, including
those that show sales and product demand in a particular region. Then the
user could directly order products from iGoogle and have them shipped to a
OK, that makes sense. It's a supply chain application, basically. We get that,
although we're not totally sure that it has anything to do with social networking,
per se (and, to be fair, the article didn't really label it as such). But then
there's this, again taken directly from the story:
"TownSquare is an enterprise news feed that allows users to receive
news about managers, friends and colleagues in one place, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also plans to announce a new open-source project for the development
of podcasting applications in SharePoint Server."
News about managers? Do we want this? Am I going to get an e-mail that says
something along the lines of, "Scott Bekker just got a haircut and is fairly
pleased with it, although he wishes the guy had taken more off the top"?
Or, "It took Anne Stuart two hours to get home last night because of traffic
on the highway"?
Seriously, we're sure that there's some use for social networking stuff in
the office, but we're not totally sure what it is. We'd like to hear from you.
If you're doing something interesting with social networking (and goofing around
on Facebook at work doesn't count), tell us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we'll run the best of what we get here in RCPU.
Posted by Lee Pender on June 10, 2008 at 11:54 AM