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  • Posts tagged ‘Twitter’

    I Don’t Always Tweet, But When I do, I Signal

    I don’t tweet very often — maybe about once a week. Sometimes, I’ll share humorous links on Twitter, but I reserve most of the funny stuff (like suburban dads rapping) for Facebook because I know my friends and I share the same sense of humor. But on the whole, I rarely tweet about issues that are really important to me. Want to know why Twitter doesn’t work for me?

    Imagine two circles. One contains every aspect of your life that you’re willing to share publicly. This is your public circle. The other circle — the private circle — contains every aspect of your life that you would be willing to share privately to a trusted audience. Of course, some of what you’d be willing to share to a trusted audience, you would also be willing to share publicly—but how much? A lot or a little?

    That’s my issue. My public and private circles barely overlap.

    For professionals, most of our intellectual energy is focused on work-related issues. Sharing thoughts, getting answers, thinking, executing…that’s what we do all day. While I see how social networks like Twitter can be very effective for some professionals, particularly those in marketing, many of us have too many proprietary concerns to share our thoughts to the general public. What do you do, for example, if your most important work-related thoughts are corporate secrets?

    I manage the Socialtext sales team, and am the executive responsible for generating revenue. I have the best and earliest visibility into our company’s financial performance (at least the revenue piece). I know our competitive strengths and weaknesses, our initiatives and business strategy. I know the key new customer prospects we are working with and hoping to sign. I see market opportunities and want my company to be able to take advantage of them before others.

    Am I really going to tweet to the public about these issues? Of course not. Would I love it if the VP of Sales of my competitors tweeted about them? Absolutely.

    But since Twitter doesn’t meet my professional needs, that doesn’t mean that I’m against social networks generally. On the contrary. Facebook definitely works for my personal interests. I’m a family man, happily married, coach my kid’s sports teams. My family grows avocados on a ranch (we have never called it a farm) in Carpinteria. We love great food. I love history and even wrote a history book. But my Aunt Betty just doesn’t much care for my ruminations on pricing strategy in large, complex accounts or how to manage & empower high-maintenance sales super-stars. And I don’t always ruminate. More often than not, I’m trying to get information or answers. So what now?

    The answer, and why I joined Socialtext, is that private social networks for enterprises combine the productivity value of public social networks with the privacy needs of most professionals and corporations. Socialtext is a leading provider of enterprise social software.

    The ability to share information, links, and knowledge quickly and easily, and without burdening people with unnecessary e-mail, really appeals to me. I was particularly excited about our secure, private microblogging tool, Socialtext Signals. Just as many of our customers use Signals throughout their organization, Signals has been a game-changer for the Socialtext sales organization. Every day, our sales executives are on the phone or WebEx with prospects who are firing questions at them. A quick Signal, and seconds later the sales executive has the exact answer they need, even to very technical or unusual requests.

    Several times every week, most of our bosses ask us for something important and urgent. Secure enterprise microblogging is dramatically more effective than email or the phone to answer them because the whole team benefits from our responses. It’s very much like the activity stream in Facebook, which a half billion people love. But instead of sharing your vacation photos, you’re sharing notes from the critical meeting you just had with a prospect and inviting those you work with to help if they can.

    Because Signals exists in the workplace, the relevance of content is much higher than Twitter, too. The common complaint about Twitter is the ridiculous tweets like “on a bus, eating a doughnut.” This just doesn’t happen in corporations that are using enterprise social software because it’s against company culture and not productive.

    Since I began using social software — and Signals in particular — I’ve personally seen about 70 percent fewer emails. Imagine coming back from vacation (or a weekend) and not having an overload of emails. The e-mails I do receive today tend to be more relevant, one-to-one communications — conversations that had to be private between me and one or two other people.

    So while many of us don’t have as much use for Twitter in our day-to-day lives, Signals is a corporate microblogging medium that is incredibly valuable for sharing openly, and getting answers that helps drive your business forward.

    Stay Signaling, my friend.

    Socialtext Releases Chatroulette for the Enterprise

    Today Socialtext released the latest cutting-edge social software for the enterprise, unleashing a revolution in Randomized Productivity Management (RPM).

    The following video has details:

    RPM takes social to a new level. We’ve been hard at work adapting the best of the social web, from Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and more for enterprise use. Socialtext users can immediately start clicking on their navigation bar to realize immediate ROI.

    Signup for your own account today.

    Learnings from web ratings systems

    “The Wisdom of Crowds” is one of the driving principles of Web 2.0. The idea, explored in James Surowiecki’s influential book, is that decisions made by large numbers of people together are better than decisions that would have been made by any one person or a small group. This principle has powered the wide adoption and success of tools including including Google, collaborative filtering, wikis, and blogs.

    One common technique, following the Wisdom of Crowds principle, is the use of ratings. The hope and expectation is that by enabling large numbers of people to express their opinion, the best will rise to the top. In recent years, rating techniques have been put into practice in many situations. The learnings from real-life experience have sometimes been counterintuitive and surprising.

    The failure of five-star ratings

    Many sites including Amazon, Netflix, and Yahoo! used five-star ratings to rate content, and this pattern became very common. Sites hoped that these ratings would provide rich information about the relative quality of content. Unfortunately, sites discovered that results from the 5-point scale weren’t meaningful. Across a wide range of applications, the majority of people people rated objects a “5″ – the average rating across many type of sites is 4.5 and higher. Results from YouTube and data from many Yahoo sites show this distribution pattern.

    Why don’t star ratings provide the nuanced content quality evaluation that sites hoped for? It turns out that people take the effort to rate primarily things they like. And because rating actions are socially visible, people use ratings to show off what they like.

    How to use scaled ratings effectively

    So, is it possible to use scaled ratings effectively? Yes, but there needs to be careful design to make sure that the scale is meaningful, that people are evaluating against clear criteria, and that people have incentive to do fine-grained evaluation. Examples of rating scales with more and less clear criteria can can be found in this Boxes and Arrows article – the image from that article is an example of a detailed scale.

    There are tradeoffs between complexity of the rating criteria and people’s willingness to fill out the ratings. Another technique to improve the value of scaled ratings is to weight the ratings by frequency and depth of contribution, as in this analysis by Christopher Allen’s game company. This techniques may be useful when there is a relatively large audience whose ratings differ in quality.

    Like

    The simpler “thumbs up” or “like” model, found in Facebook and FriendFeed has taken precedence over star ratings systems. This simpler action can surface quality content, while avoiding the illusory precision of five-star ratings. The vote to promote pattern can be used to surface popular content. This technique can be used in two ways – to highlight popular news (as in Digg) or to surface notable items in a larger repository.

    Several considerations regarding the “like” action: this sort of rating requires a large enough audience and frequent enough ratings to generate useful results. In smaller communities the information may not be meaningful. Also, the “like” action indicates popularity but not necessarily quality. As seen on Digg and similar sites, the “like” action can highlight the interests of an active minority of nonrepresentative users. Or the pattern can be subject to gaming.

    Another concern is the mixing of “like” and “bookmark” actions. Twitter has a “favorite” feature that is also the only way for users to bookmark content. So some number of Twitter “favorites” represent the user temporarily saving the content, perhaps because they disagree with it rather than because they like it! Systems that have a “like” feature should clearly differentiate the feature from a “bookmark” or “watch” action.

    The risks of people ratings

    Another technique that sites sometimes use, in the interest of improving quality and reliability, is the rating of people. Transaction sites such as Ebay use “karma” reputation systems to assess seller and buyer reliability, and large sites often use some sort of karma system to incent good behavior and improve signal to noise ratio.

    The Building Reputation Systems blog has a superb article explaining how Karma is complicated. The simplest versions don’t work at all. “Typical implementations only require a user to click once to rate another user and are therefore prone to abuse.” More subtle designs still have an impact on participant motivations that may or may not be what site organizers expect. “Public karma often encourages competitive behavior in users, which may not be compatible with their motivations. This is most easily seen with leaderboards, but can happen any time karma scores are prominently displayed.” For example, here is one example of karma gaming that affected even in a subtle and well-designed system.

    Participant motivations, reactions, and interactions

    When providing ratings capabilities for a community, it is important to consider the motivations of the people in that community. In the Building Reputation blog Randy Farmer talks about various types of egocentricand altruistic motivations. Points systems are often well-designed to support egocentric motivations. But they may not be effective for people who are motivated to share.

    Adrian Chan draws distinctions between the types of explicit incentives used in computer games, and the more subtle interests found in other sorts of social experiences, online and off. People have shared interests; people are interested in other people. The motivations come not just from the system in which people are taking these actions, but from outside the system – how people feel about each other, how they interact with each other.

    In a business environment, people want to show off their expertise and don’t want to look stupid in front of their peers and superiors. They may want to maintain a harmonious work environment. Or in a competitive environment, they may want to show up their peers. These motivations affect the ways that people use ratings features as well as how they seek and provide more subtle forms of approval, like responses to questions in a microblogging system.

    Thomas Vander Wal talks about the importance of social comfort in people’s willingness to participate in social systems, particularly in the enterprise.

    People need to feel comfortable with the tools, with each other, and with the subject matter. The most risky form of ratings, direct rating of people, typically reduces the level of comfort.

    Depending on the culture of the organization and the way content rating is used, content rating may feel to participants like encouragement to improve quality, like a disincentive to participation, or like an incentive to social behavior that decreases teamwork. Even with good intentions and thoughtful design, the results may not be as anticipated. In that case, it is important to monitor and iterate.

    Scale effects

    The familiar examples of ratings come from consumer services like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, with many millions of users. With audiences as large as Amazon’s, there are multiple people willing to rate fairly obscure content. In smaller communities, such as special interest sites and corporate environments, there are many fewer people: hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. While the typical rate of participation is much higher – 10-50%, rather than 1-10%, that is still many fewer people. With a smaller population, will there be enough rating activity to be meaningful. If an item has one or two ratings, what does this mean? Smaller communities need to assess whether the level of activity generates useful information.

    Summary

    Ratings and reputation systems can be very useful at surfacing the hidden knowledge of the crowd. But their use is not as simple as deploying a feature. In order to gain value, it is important to take into account lessons learned:

    • Think carefully about the goal of the ratings system. Use features and encourage practices to achieve that goal
    • Use an appropriate scale that addresses the goal
    • Consider the size of the community and the likelihood of useful results
    • Consider the motivations and comfort level of the community and how the system may affect those motivations and reactions

    Then, evaluate the results. The use of a rating system should be seen not like a “set and forget” rollout, but as an experiment with goals. Goals may include quantitative measures like the volume of ratings and the effect on overall level of contribution, as well as qualitative measures such as the effectiveness of ratings at highlighting quality content, the effect on people’s perception of the environment, and the effect on the level and feeling of teamwork in an organizational setting. Be prepared to make changes if your initial experiment teaches you things you didn’t expect.

    For more information

    The Building Reputation blog, by Randall Farmer and Bryce Glass, is an excellent source of in-depth information on this topic. The blog is a companion to the O’ReillyBuilding Web Reputation Systems.

    Other good sources on this and other social design topics include:

    Twitter is the new headline: how blogging and social messaging are complementary

    Recently, media critic Jay Rosen mocked this post as dumbest newspaper column about Twitter ever. In the column, a game critic blogger at the New Orleans paper attempted to parody Twitter by writing his review of an xbox game in 140 character increments. The reason the reviewer’s approach is silly is that the columnist misses the complementary relationship between Twitter and blogging. If you are writing an article, you don’t write the article itself on Twitter. You write a normal essay, and then share the link on Twitter with a catchy phrase.

    Is Twitter really killing blogging?

    There is a common meme Twitter is killing blogging, since bloggers are now spending their time and sharing their ideas on Twitter. As Robin Hamman observed last fall in this Headshift post, Twitter (and Facebook) are siphoning off a lot of the energy from personal diary blogging – the proverbial post about what I ate for lunch – or blogging for simple link sharing. Anecdotally, some bloggers observe that they post less frequently because they tweet ideas more often.

    While Twitter may be siphoning blog energy from very short posts, Twitter also increases interest in more substantive blog posts and discussion around blog ideas. An increasing amount of blog traffic is driven by status updates from Facebook and Twitter. Through link posting and “retweets” – the social custom of forwarding a link or quote to one’s Twitter followers, , the social network is used to share and spread interesting posts and call attention to good bloggers. Essentially, Twitter is the new headline.

    Professionals use social messaging to develop ideas.

    On the public internet, reactions and conversation about blog post ideas are taking place in Twitter, in comments on Facebook status updates, and on FriendFeed, a site that aggregates and enables discussion about links and updates from many social media sites together. A number of online journalists are developing rich processes for developing ideas using these social media. Journalism professor Jay Rosen uses phased process, using Twitter for mindcasting short thoughts and links, Friendfeed for assembling links and ideas together with discussion, and his blog to publish long-form essays based on the ideas. Scientist and science blogger Bora Zivkovic writes about a similar social journalistic workflow, carrying the process from ideas shared in Twitter through composing articles and books. Yahoo social design expert and blogger Christian Crumlish has used the workflow starting with Twitter and extending through writing a book, using a wiki as a tool for book editing and feedback for O’Reilly’s Designing Social Interfaces. Using these workflows, these professional journalists and bloggers are developing higher quality ideas and documents through turbo-charged idea sharing and peer review.

    Value in the Workplace

    The relationship between social messaging and blogging can be particularly valuable in the workplace, where social messaging is used to call attention to timely and relevant work-related posts and updates. Sharing blog posts, links and wiki updates using Socialtext Signals enables timely discussion without interrupting people’s work day.

    Making it easy to share and discuss motivates people to write useful posts, and update information on wiki pages, because they know they know the content will be shared, discussed and used with colleagues – they are not just contributing content into a black hole. Socialtext Signals is designed to facilitate this sort of sharing – when adding new content, writers are prompted to share a summary of the update on Signals. And we’re sensitive to business confidentiality – only people who have permission to see the content can see the Signal about the new content.

    In summary, social messaging and blogs are highly complementary. The role of Twitter and Socialtext Signals isn’t to limit thoughts to what can can be expressed in 140 characters or less, it’s to call attention to longer-form writing, and to improve those ideas within the social network. Using the techniques of turbo-charged peer review being developed by professional bloggers and journalists, organizations can use social tools to be smarter and more responsive.

    Diversity Matters

    Today at 10am I Tweeted (and posted to Facebook) “Two new Socialtext employees in Palo Alto today – bringing great energy!”.

    At 11:54 I followed up with “I just realized that one reason why I’m excited by our two new Socialtext employees is that they’re both women!”

    I immediately received several DMs, Facebook wall comments, emails, and other responses saying things like “yikes that last tweet could be taken out of context (possible HR issue)”, or “Should you really be saying that on Twitter?”

    My first reaction was “how could that possibly be misinterpreted?” But then I realized that there are a lot of people who see my tweets who don’t know anything about my personal philosophy and/or could take a short statement out of context. So I decided this was a good opportunity to put some clarifying context out there.

    I grew up on the east coast and was raised pretty much on the Socratic method; as a result I believe that the best ideas should always win, regardless of the source. From a leadership perspective this requires a set of things to be true:

    • The company culture (and the tools and processes that support the environment) need to encourage debate and discourse
    • Norms have to support and encourage debate of ideas on their merits, and discourage debate based on personalities or power – “attack the idea, not the person”
    • The more diversity of experience, perspective, thinking/analysis methodology, and style of debate, the more likely the “best idea” will truly emerge
    • Finally, in order to execute, everyone needs to be able to “disagree and commit”

    It’s the 3rd point here that’s relevant today. I am a true believer in the power and importance of diversity – not just of gender, ethnicity, age, or some other demographic variable – but of experience, business models, and analysis frameworks. That said I have always especially appreciated the different approaches that men and women bring to analytic and problem-solving situations, and have always tried to create environments where different approaches yield better thinking and decisions.

    In fact when I was going through the final discussions about my joining Socialtext as CEO back in the fall of 2007, I made it clear to the existing board members that I really wanted to recruit a woman to my board. I was really proud when we elected Julie Hanna Farris to our board of directors in May of 2008 (http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2008/05/welcoming-julie-hanna-farris-o.html) in which I said ”

    I also wanted to state that I had explictly wanted to add a woman to our board – not for PR reasons – but rather because I believe that diversity benefits decision-making. I’ve always believed that it’s the best idea that should win, and that the best ideas usually emerge from a diverse range of inputs, models, experiences, and perspectives.”

    So that’s the context and I hope it explains why I never even imagined that I could be misunderstood. Still, I thank my Twitter and Facebook friends for pointing out that filling in the context helped clarify my intent.

    How Asymmetry Scales

    Josh Porter predicts at his Bokardo blog that Facebook will go asymmetric. Until now, Facebook has had a “symmetrical” model of social network, where in order to establish a relationship, both sides need to have each other as connections. When you send a “friend request”, the recipient must friend you back so you can see their profile and activity. By contrast, Twitter has an “asymmetric” network. People can follow you, and you don’t need to follow them back for them to see your updates.

    Porter calls out two key reasons why Facebook may go asymmetric. Asymmetric networks are a a good fit for anyone with a level of community fame, not just organizations, consumer brands and popular bands. Facebook is making it’s “Pages” feature more robust – these are pages that a brand or organization can set up. People can choose to be “fans” of that organization, and the organization does not need a mutual connection. In addition to helping popular organizations and people, asymmetric networks help people manage their attention. If you are even modestly popular, with over 100-200 followers, the number of updates from followers can be deafening. In an asymmetric network, you don’t need to pay attention to every update from everyone following you.

    There are a couple of other key reasons why asymmetric networks scale better, in addition to helping the popular. In Twitter there are a number of ways where asymmetry in a public network provides good returns to scale, as I noted in a post on my personal blog on premature predictions of peak Twitter

    • In Twitter, it is common to “Retweet” an interesting link or quote, to share it with your followers. Retweets disseminate information across social networks
    • Twitter searches makes it easy to find information outside of one’s personal network
    • Visible “mentions” – the feature that shows that shows when someone mentions you even if you’re not following them, allow you to hail and engage people in conversation, and have others start conversations with you, even if you’re not following them.

    These features mean that the more people who join the network, the more interesting information will be amplified through it, and the more potentially interesting people you may discover. The level of context is fairly high – you can see what someone else has been Twittering, and see if they are interesting and relevant to you. And the level of obligation is low (you can follow someone without giving them the burden of accepting or rejecting you). In Facebook, I can see when someone that I don’t know has commented on the update of someone I do know, but then I need to “friend” a stranger in order to learn more about them. Facebook’s mostly-symmetrical, mostly closed network makes it hard to learn new things and meet new people outside your existing network.

    So, the reasons for asymmetry aren’t just about supporting fame, but enabling discovery with low social expense.

    This is an edited version of a post that first appeared here.

    Twitter in the Enterprise Webinar Series

    We’ve teamed up with leading microblogging researchers Laura Fitton and Marcia Conner of Pistachio Consulting to provide Twitterprise: a social messaging seminar series.

    Webinar 1: Twitterprise Overview
    April 9, 9am PDT

    If you’re wondering whether talk of “Twitter in the enterprise” is an overblown fad or an opportunity you need to understand now, this webinar is for you.

    Webinar 2: Twitterprise Use Cases & Case Studies
    April 23, 9am PDT

    The second webinar builds upon the first. Join this free webinar to get specifics on how companies are using social messaging and the value it creates for them. We’ll explore general use cases of social messaging technology, and a Socialtext customer will present how they are using Socialtext’s microsharing technology, Socialtext Signals.

    Webinar 3: Twitterprise Adoption & Achievement
    May 7, 9am PDT

    The third webinar gets practical about how to foster adoption for “Twitter-like” microsharing technologies in the enterprise. In this webinar you will learn how to foster adoption in a way that directs it towards a business goal. We’ll share lessons learned for implementing social messaging and for setting business goals for social messaging that deliver results.

    Click here to learn more about what you can learn, the background of the presenters and how to register.

    Socialtext Releases Signals Microblogging Application for the Enterprise

    Twitter-style Application Expands Socialtext’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform with Secure Social Messaging Application — Socialtext Desktop Public Beta, Powered By Adobe AIR

    Palo Alto, CA – March 3, 2009 – Socialtext, the leading provider of Enterprise 2.0 Solutions, today announced general availability of Socialtext Signals™, the Twitter-style social messaging interface for the Socialtext platform. Socialtext Signals provides customers simple and efficient information sharing capabilities, and further expands the company’s enterprise social networking and collaboration platform. Socialtext also announced the public beta availability of the Socialtext Desktop, a rich desktop application powered by Adobe® AIR®, for monitoring and participating in social networking, collaboration and social messaging.

    Here’s what customers are saying about Socialtext Signals, in 140 characters or less:

    • “I’ve been predicting the convergence of Wikis, Twitter, blogs and Facebook. Socialtext Signals just made it a reality,” says Montgomery Flinsch, Electronic Publishing & Media Technology Services, Mayo Clinic.
    • “Signals allows students to blast a digital nugget of importance to the class. It’s a digital espresso shot that makes us all smarter,” said John Gallaugher, Associate Professor of Information Systems, Carroll School of Management, Boston College.
    • “Signals let’s us spread great ideas like wildfire and extinguish bad ones rapidly. That’s value for our clients and our firm,” said Lisa Palmer, Sr. Vice President at Davies Public Affairs

    The official release of Socialtext Signals introduces the same micro-blogging style of open sharing that today’s popular public tools offer, but keeps the conversations secure within the framework of the organization. Unlike standalone “Twitter-clones,” Socialtext Signals™ provides an integrated user experience for social messaging across the Socialtext platform, such as the ability to Signal in context of wiki editing. Socialtext Signals™ amplifies, clarifies and complements other collaboration activities, eliminating the need for playing “email volleyball” with attachments and allowing coworkers to transparently work and collaborate on common goals.

    Socialtext Desktop is built using Adobe AIR technology, a cross-platform runtime and key component of the Adobe Flash Platform. Within Socialtext Desktop, Adobe AIR enables a persistent, rich interface for automatic notification of Signals (what people are saying and sharing) and Updates (automatically generated notifications about what people are working in: wiki edits, blog posts, comments, profile edits), with the ability to post at your fingertips. Socialtext users can download the public beta of Socialtext Desktop at http://socialtext.com/products/desktop.php. For more information about Adobe AIR, visit www.adobe.com/go/air.

    “The rich experience that Adobe AIR provides for Web applications outside of the browser is a perfect match with Socialtext’s unique flexible SaaS-hosted and SaaS-appliance delivery,” said Bryant Macy, director of product marketing for the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Socialtext Desktop is a great example of how Adobe Flash Platform technologies can be used to create intuitive, highly interactive business-critical Web applications that improve productivity in the enterprise.”

    “As the enterprise landscape transforms to incorporate social media tools, many customers told us of their need to integrate a micro-blogging function into their existing collaboration platform,” said Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext. “Signals creates a new workplace environment that amplifies and complements other collaboration activity, allowing individuals to transparently work and collaborate on common goals through a secure social messaging application within the organization.”

    About Socialtext

    As the Enterprise 2.0 leader, Socialtext applies Web 2.0 technologies to the critical challenges facing businesses. Enterprise 2.0 holds the promise of dramatically increasing business productivity, stimulating greater innovation, and creating tighter connections between employees, partners, and customers. Socialtext provides hosted and appliance-based solutions to more than 4,000 customers world-wide, including BASF, Boston College, CondeNet, Epitaph Records, IKEA, Intel, MicroStrategy, MWW Group, Nokia, SAP, Sunguard, Symantec, and USA Today.

    Socialtext’s flagship product, Socialtext Workspace, is the first enterprise wiki and the foundation of the connected collaboration platform. Socialtext People enables enterprise social networking. Socialtext Dashboard provides personalized and customizable widget-based interface for people and teams to manage attention. SocialCalc is the social spreadsheet for distributed teams. These products deliver connected collaboration with context. Learn more about Socialtext at www.socialtext.com.

    Media Contacts:
    Voce Communications
    Gina von Esmarch
    (415) 203 4660
    gvon@vocecomm.com

    Yasemin Krause
    (415) 848 2579
    ykrause@vocecomm.com

    What’s different about Enterprise Twitter?

    Twitter has taken off on the public web, and there are a variety of vendors who are offering “Twitter for the Enterprise.” As with social networking, it’s not enough to simply clone Twitter and deploy it for business users. Here are some of the key ways that enterprise microblogging is different. This is part two of a series on what’s different about enterprise software. Part 1 is crossposted here and here.

    With public Twitter, people use nicknames. Many people add a profile link that identifies who they are in the real world. Many do not, and tweet pseudonymously. In a business setting, the signal is tied to the user’s real-world identity, derived from their company directory entry and business activities. You can navigate from a signal to a profile, and discover a lot about the person in their work context. A significant part of the value the people get from enterprise social software is finding the smart and plugged-in people in their organization. Microblogging helps discover the interesting people, and the links to rich work-context profiles reveal more about what the person does and what they know.

    With public twitter, one of the common usage patterns is to share links. Well-informed, insightful people scan the news, and share interesting tidbits with their followers. This valuable pattern on the public net gains power inside an organization. People can share links and commentary about to documents they are working on, for example, a marketing plan or a budget. And they can share private commentary about public links. For example, there can be a company-private discussion about a move by a competitor. Enterprise microblogging allows users to share links to private content, and to share private discussion about public content.

    Confidentiality

    The main difference between Twitter and enterprise microblogging is confidentiality. You’re not sharing information with the big wide world, only with your colleagues. As in personal life, confidentiality frees people to share more openly about nonpublic topics. Of course, people need to be still cognizant about what they share, as they do in meeting rooms or around water coolers.

    Inside an enterprise, microblogging has a different balance of transparency and privacy than email. With email, your message is visible only to the people you choose to send it to. With enterprise microblogging, the recipient chooses who to follow, and whose messages to see. This provides useful “ambient transparency” in an organization, for example spreading useful knowledge about products in development and customer relationships. Enterprise microblogging is more private than public Twitter, and more transparent than email.

    The Art of Enterprise Social Software

    As you can see, it’s not enough to take an existing piece of social software and run it behind the firewall. Adapting social software to the enterprise requires consideration about how business and social environments are different, and how social software can be used to provide business value.

    Introducing Socialtext 3.0

    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 .

    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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