Quick, can you tell me what’s happening at your company right now?
Do you know where your colleagues are, and what they are working on?
Do you know what conversations are going on, or updates are being made to your content?
Do you know what content has been worked on the most in the last week, and who the most active contributors were?
If you’re still communicating primarily via email, storing files in shared folders, and relying on manually created status reports and meetings to find out what is going on, then the answers are most likely no. But if you’re using Socialtext, you would know all of these things, and more.
Activity Streams Keep You Informed
Email is limited by design. The messages displayed in your inbox are restricted to only the conversations that you are directly involved in. That means you can’t gain insight from all the other conversations taking place in your company, nor interact with all the other people.
Compare that to Socialtext’s activity streams, were you can view all the events taking place, and follow updates from people all across your company. You can see when edits, comments, or tags are made to Socialtext pages. You can see when people update their profiles, share links to news, or add people to their social network. Developers can also extend the list of activities to include events from your company’s other business systems, by using Socialtext’s robust programming interfaces.
Monitor Activities On Your Dashboard
Starting with Socialtext release 3.6, three new widgets are available on your Socialtext Dashboard, Activities, Active Content, and Active Members.
The improved Socialtext Dashboard (click to enlarge)
Socialtext’s Activity Streams have been designed with the following Enterprise-grade requirements in mind:
Multiple Content Types: The Activities widget has been designed to be the one place people go to see all the updates happening inside your company. It displays information from events taking place in Socialtext workspaces, messages from Socialtext Signals, and can be extended to show events from other 3rd party systems.
Security: Access controls ensure that you can only see the updates that you have access to. So even if you are following someone, if they update a page in a workspace that you don’t have access to, you will not see that in the stream.
Filtering: You can easily customize the stream to display a subset of information, by filtering the type of events shown (label #2 in the image below) and who they are from (label #3)
The Activities Widget (click to enlarge)
If you just want to see the Signals from the people you follow, you can do that. This helps you keep up with where your colleagues are, what they are doing, and things they are sharing such as news items or links to information. You can also post Signals (label #1), enabling you to share status updates, ask or answer questions, share links, etc. Also new to 3.6, you can now delete Signals you have sent in error. (label #4)
If you want to see just the updates (edits, comments, tags) being made to pages you’re working on, you can do that. This helps ensure you’re always looking at the most recent version of content. No more digging through your inbox or file system to try and find the latest presentation of spreadsheet.
If you want to see everything from everybody, you can do that too! There is tremendous value in discovering new people, and new content that you’ve never worked with before. If you remain restricted to your inbox, that won’t happen. But with all the events taking place inside Socialtext being broadcast to the Activity stream, you now have a way to find new pages or new colleagues that can help you in your job.
Active Content and Active Members
While activity streams are a great way of keeping up with what is going on now, you won’t always have the time to follow the entire stream. So what you need, is an easy way to quickly discover the most active pages and people. With the Active Content and Active People widgets, that information is available at a glance.
The Active Members widget allows you to see who’s profiles are being viewed the most often, plus who the most active readers, editors, and Signal’ers are.
The Active Content widget, shows you which the most viewed, edited, watched, and emailed pages are.
You can easily configure (from the wrench icon) the source and duration for these widgets, allowing you to customize them to display the information that is most important to you.
For example, you could:
Find out which pages have been viewed the most over the last year across all your Socialtext workspaces
Discover which pages have been edited the most in the last week in your HR workspace
See who’s read the most pages in your Marketing workspace this month
Look at who’s sent the most Signals in the last week
We understand that when running a business, you need to know what is going on, and you need to know now. You need to know what people are working on, and make sure you’re looking at the most recent content so you can make informed decisions. So stop being burdened by the overflow of your inbox, and see how Activity Streams and Socialtext Dashboard can help you access the right information and find best people to get the job done.
Today we announced the immediate availability of Socialtext 3.5, enhancing the leading social software platform for business. This release provides enhancements across all of our products, but primarily provides two new substantial capabilities:
Socialtext Desktop is outta beta. Our dynamic Adobe AIR(TM) desktop application moves beyond the ability to view and post Signals (a private Twitter for businesses), and Activity Streams that let you discover new people through your content and content through your content. A new People tab lets you search and explore the social networks you build for employees, partners and customers. A new Workspace tab lets you search and browse through content with drag-and-drop sharing of attachments. Download it now to experience what might be the most powerful and productive collaboration desktop application to be delivered for Adobe AIR on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Socialtext Dashboard enhanced for group-use. Socialtext Dashboard is a personalized and customizable homepage for managing your attention across Socialtext and other enterprise and web systems. Socialtext 3.5 provides new capabilities for administrators to add OpenSocial standards-based widgets to the gallery and push them directly to user’s Dashboards. Socialtext customers are using this to deliver content, applications to get team members on the same page and enhance the participation in intranets and extranets. Start your own free trial to try it now.
The capabilities of 3.5 have really changed the way I work. Desktop makes Socialtext more of a real-time experience, where I feel constantly connected with my colleagues and find people and content at my fingertips. We are using Dashboard to roll out widgets from Salesforce.com to our sales team so they manage their attention even more effectively.
If you are a Socialtext customer, I’m interested in how it is changing how you work and please share screenshots of the Dashboards you create on the Customer Exchange.
Today we released Socialtext 3.0 to our production hosted service. Socialtext 3.0 is a trio of enterprise social software applications built on a common platform:
Socialtext People – Putting social networking for work
Socialtext Dashboard – Personalized dashboards with work-centric social update feeds
Socialtext Workspace – Dramatic upgrade to the enterprise wiki for business people>
There’s likely to be a lot of press and blogger coverage about Socialtext today, and a lot of it is likely to cover our announcement of another exciting product in the works – Socialtext Signals. Most folks are likely to call it “Twitter for the Enterprise” but we are thinking about it much more deeply – particularly how integrating it with People, Dashboard, and Workspace will help make it much more of a tool that blends with the flow of real work, and not just another cool social app. But more on Signals later.
Socialtext 3.0 has been in the works for awhile, and is the result of lots of learning from our innovative customers, input from our insightful advisors, adaptation of major social software trends in the public Web 2.0 world, and good old-fashioned home grown innovation. But at all times we focus on making our products relevant and useful to business users, which builds on our years of experience delivering business value with enterprise wikis.
Our team has put together a lot of materials to introduce you to these new products and capabilities – and how they work together. They’ll be posted on the main www.socialtext.com website on an ongoing basis – so check back to see what’s new.
For our existing customers, we’re completely refreshing the Customer Exchange www.socialtext.net/exchange – where we’re adding lots of content to help orient you and your colleagues to the new user experience in Socialtext Workspace 3.0 with Socialtext Dashboard, as well as the benefits of blending these with Socialtext People .
Our recent announcements about Socialtext People and Socialtext Dashboard have given me the fun opportunity to demo and discuss our new social networking initiatives with a large number of existing and potential customers. There’s some consistent themes that come up in these conversations, often unprompted by anything I say:
Many companies have been thinking about the business potential of social networking at work. Several have even built out complete strategies and visions of what they would like to see working inside of their environment – not just in terms of a technology suite or stack, but also in terms of “fitting in” to their existing way of working. This is really exciting!
At the same time many of them have a hard time explaining internally how the most commonly known and used public internet social networking tools show how this would really work “in the real world” of their environment. “Facebook is just for fun” or “How is that relevant to getting stuff done” or “what problems does that solve for me at work” are frequent questions that people either ask or get asked.
One nerve that runs deep that our demo often touches comes to the fore when I talk about how we at Socialtext think really deeply and differently about the value proposition of social software in the workplace vs. on the Internet. We think that the point is to help people and organizations get stuff done, which is dramatically different from “staying in touch” or “showing off how big your network is” or “hooking up”.
What prompted me to write about this was a conversation I had yesterday with a new customer. I was humorously talking about how the explicit “friending” gesture that’s at the core of almost every public social networking site just doesn’t work as is in the enterprise – after all we work for the same company, and the political ramifications of publicly visible “friend connections” is just subject to too much useless gamesmanship (“look how many execs I’m friends with”). We think the real potential of social software in the work environment goes way beyond explict graphs of “who knows whom” (or really “who says they know whom”), and should address much more powerful things like “who works with whom” and “who knows what” and “who knows who knows what”.
Meanwhile all of this thinking was strongly influenced by one of my most favorite recent reads – David Weinberger‘s book “Everything is Miscellaneous”. I recommend this book to everyone – but in particular because of his chapter called “What Nothing Says”. My key takeaway is that the implicit is much more powerful than the explicit, and that what I do is more meaningful that what I say about myself. By extension, what others say about me is likely more relevant and trustworthy (usually) that what I say about me. These social patterns are much more useful and relevant than explicit links between people who know that the links are explicitly public.
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.