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    Using Enterprise Microblogging for Sharing Links

    As children, our parents teach us to be kind and share with others. “Share your toys. Share your snacks. Share your games.” So shouldn’t we be expected to behave the same way when we grow up and join the business world?

    Unfortunately in competitive corporate environments, people sometimes horde information to try and gain any advantage they can over their colleagues. Thankfully, a cultural shift is occurring, where people understand that sharing and openness are vital to company-wide success, and that helping others is actually one of the key ways to getting ahead.

    This is the third part of a series explaining the benefits of microblogging in the enterprise. In part one, we took a look at how sharing status updates can lead to tighter knit teams and reduce duplication of work. In part two, we examined how affective microblogging can be for questions and answers, enabling everyone to benefit and contribute to knowledge sharing. Today, I’d like to highlight how enterprise microblogging can be used effectively to share links to information, from public websites as well as internal resources.

    When you read a blog post or news item online that you find informative, do you share it with others?? If so, how and with whom? If the only corporate tool at your disposal for sharing is email, do you really want to bother your colleagues by putting yet another message in their inbox? Will they even read it? What if there are other people that should know about the information? That’s where enterprise microblogging solutions, such as Socialtext Signals, come in, providing a better way to share information.

    Sharing links via microblogging, instead of e-mail, has several benefits

    1. Audience – Everyone in the company benefits from the information, not just a few people on an email recipient list. For example, you may think that article about a competitor will be interesting to the Marketing team, but the Engineering team could benefit from reading it as well.
    2. Discoverable – Via search, everyone can find links that have been shared, since they are not locked away inside someone’s mail file.
    3. Conversations – Often, when a link is shared, it sparks a discussion, leading to thoughts and ideas that let you improve products and services, or better satisfy customers.

    Each of these characteristics have lead to link sharing becoming one of the most popular uses of Twitter. According to a recent New York Times article, “(on Twitter) One-fifth of posts and 57 percent of repeat messages contain a link, proving that this is an increasingly popular way to spread news” – Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist.

    So what advantages does sharing links via internal microblogging provide versus using Twitter?

    1. 1) Privacy – Employees want to share information with each other easily, but not disclose it publicly. For example, if employees research a company for a possible acquisition and want to share lots of links about it, that must be kept confidential. The same goes for sharing information about your competitors. Also, people share intranet links with sensitive information and descriptions which must be kept internal, such as “Everyone please take a look at this list of questions from the Acme account.”
    2. 2) Expertise – Sharing links is not just about the content, it’s also about the people. Enterprise microblogging integrates with the corporate profiles of the authors, providing a great way to discover which people have expertise and interests in certain areas.
    3. 3) Integration – Rather than using multiple tools, content creation, link sharing, search, and profiles (mentioned above) should be integrated. Socialtext Signals features the unique ability to post a microblogging message automatically when a workspace page is updated. The resulting Signal (microblogging message) provides a link back to the page, and shows who made the update. Click on the person’s name or photo to see their profile. Go to the search bar in Socialtext, and find pages, people, and signals all from the same location.

    But what about social bookmarking?

    Sharing links is not a completely new idea. “Social bookmarking” sites, such as Digg and Delicious, have been around for a while. Some enterprise software vendors even offer dedicated internal social bookmarking tools. However, sharing bookmarks in their own unique location results in employees having to look in more places to find information. Instead, by sharing links via microblogging, employees now have a single experience for creating and discovering status updates, questions and answers, and shared links.

    So the next time you’re reading something that you think could benefit others, signal a link, and let everyone know.

    Here is a video of sharing links via Socialtext Signals.

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    About This Blog

    Weblog on gaining business results from social software.

    On this blog, Socialtext staffers and customers explore how companies can gain the most business value from their use of enterprise social software, including microblogging, social networking, filtered activity streams, widget-based dashboards, blogs and wikis.

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