Microblogging is so much more than the 140-character blurb it once was. Today, it's a concept that's heating the cores of collaboration platforms across the enterprise. And, while conversation is still front-and-center for most providers, we're seeing a lot of solutions dressed in the same accessories.
Here are just a few perks that are making the rounds:
- Drag and Drop: Share files directly in an activity/microblog stream by dragging them from your computer into the feed.
- Unified Search: Search a term and unified search sifts through pretty much everything that lives in the stream: messages, files, links, profiles, etc.
- "Follow" More Stuff: Many activity streams offer users the option to "follow" colleagues just like they would follow people on Twitter, but now that functionality is being extended to documents and tasks so being up-to-date on the most recent developments is a piece of cake.
- Groups: Grouping colleagues in an activity stream comes in handy when a user only wants to view updates about specific projects or teams.
- Mobile compatibility: Many enterprise-level activity streams are making their way to mobile devices, enabling employees to collaborate on the go.
The Facebook Approach
As far as look and feel goes, it seems to be a no-brainer across the board. A design that was perhaps most famously supported by Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff, today several companies are planting microblog/activity streams in Facebook-like interfaces.
For example, here's a side-by-side shot of the recently redesigned interfaces of both Yammer and Chatter:
Yammer vs. Chatter
And, for fun, here's a shot of my Facebook home:
Chelsi's ultra awesome Facebook home
Let's rewind for a second to February 2010 when Benioff wrote an article for TechCrunch titled "The Facebook Imperative":
We need to transform the business conversation the same way Facebook has changed the consumer conversation. Market shifts happen in real time, deals are won and lost in real time, and data changes in real time. Yet the software we use to run our enterprises is in anything but real time. We need tools that work smarter, make better use of new technology (like the mobile devices in everyone’s hands), and fully leverage the opportunities of the Internet.
Many were skeptical, but, considering the images above, it looks like he hit the nail on the head. The age of information overload has transformed our online lives into endless streams of activity, and waiting to act is almost never an option. Thanks to the popularity of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, providers have been able to reduce traffic in ways that are both fun and familiar. Needless to say, we expect to see developments in this area continue at a rapid pace.
While Salesforce.com's release of Chatter 2 is slated for October, Yammer is hammering out the details of an upcoming social network of their own. Meanwhile, companies like MangoSpring and SocialText are also cooking up enhancements.
Is there anything you'd like to see in the enterprise activity stream/microblogging area that you haven't? Let us know in the comments section.