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Rob Foster's House of Southern-Fried SharePoint and other ramblings on enterprise technologies

It seems like almost everyone is doing social networking outside of work these days.  Whether it's MySpace or Facebook or blogs or wikis (or some other tool), almost everyone in the "under 40" realm is jumping on board.  At what point will companies start offering this type of functionality for employees?

I think that it's sooner than we all might think.  Will the kids that are in elementary/high school/college come to expect this functionality to be provided by their potential employers?  I really think so.  What a great concept to offer employees.  An online community that can be used by employees to connect with each other isn't that difficult to create since most of the tools are open source.  Microsoft seems to see this as a trend with their release of MOSS 2007 as well.

In a way, social networking can create a very unique culture in the workforce.  When I was a consultant with Solutech/Quilogy, we had an area on our intranet in which you could post your picture and add/edit things about you.  Each employee was grouped by office (we had like 16 offices).  For me, being a travelling trainer and consultant, if I had a meeting with someone in the Detroit office, I could go and see who I was to be meeting with and learn a bit about that person by reading their 'bio'.  This was our culture.  An online "profile" of our people, so to speak.

Of all of the tools that are offered in the whole social networking realm, I personally think that wikis will be the one aspect that could change the way that we collaborate.  I'm very excited to see how something so simple will evolve in a large organization.  You can use wikis for just about anything to capture ideas between "more than one" person.  For my company (remaining unnamed to protect the innocent), we are evaluating SharePoint 2007 to push most of the social network functionality to our users.  I hate blogs that market a product, but it does seem to integrate best into an environment that is mostly a Microsoft shop. 

As I opened this posting with, I really believe that kids (that are kids now) will enter the workforce with these types of expectations, so you should start preparing now and implement this very soon.

Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 1:17 PM SharePoint | Back to top

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