IBM has announced Lotus Connections, and makes claim that its the industry's first platform for business social computing.By providing a portal for users to gather and exchange information, Lotus Connections has a dashboard-like eye on current projects and aims to bring together users from the same communities, eliminating the need for multiple social software and collaboration applications. The new platform is derived from five different Web 2.0-based components -- Activities, Communities, Dogear, Profiles, and Blogs -- and is user friendly, allowing you to exchange information quickly and in an efficient manner, and will hopefully bypass the instance of duplicating tasks.I don’t know about you, but I’m all for time-saving measures these days.Lotus Connections endeavors to help organization feel a stronger sense of community within their membership, particularly when members are not located in the same geographic area."The Film Foundation works to preserve and restore a broad range of films including studio and independent features, avant-garde works, documentaries, newsreels, home movies, and films from the silent era," said Jennifer Ahn, managing director, The Film Foundation. "The Activities component of Lotus Connections will enable more timely and efficient collaboration on educational projects -- helping us to expand our Story of Movies program, which is developed by a team of people located all over the country. And it will be invaluable in our efforts to preserve more of our cinematic treasures." A few highlighted benefits include:* Quickly find the right people and expand contact networks based on topics and areas of expertise: With the Profiles component of Lotus Connections, users can search for people by name, expertise or keyword. Search results provide standard name, contact information and reportingstructure details, along with links to the blogs, communities, activities and bookmarks associated with the person begin searched. * Bring people together with common interests and assignments: With Communities, users can work together with colleagues across their organization that share common interests or work objectives. Community members discuss relevant issues, conduct polls to gather information and share resources. Anyone with the organization or selected partners from outside of an organization, such as customers, can join and participate in a Community. * Organize the work and interactions associated with an activity: With Activities, users have a Web-based dashboard for managing and completing tasks with their professional network of colleagues. Within Activities, users can easily organize, share and collaborate on all files, instantmessaging chats, email messages and Web links associated with a given task. This enables employees to better track to do lists and manage deadlines, while incorporating best practices and knowledge from across their organization. IBM describes Web 2.0 as "what is now happening on the Internet". The point to three things tha make Web 2.0 different and remarkable:# New Delivery Models, where software is accessed primarily as a service.# New, simple user interfaces to data and services that are rich and responsive# The principle of participation, where communities of people are able to add value through their interactions."Tapping the wealth of knowledge and expertise of individuals within an organization is paramount to the pace of growth and productivity in the enterprise," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM. "Lotus Connections represents a major step forward in the evolution of enterprise collaboration..."Additional details can be dug out of the IBM/Lotus website. Or to vibe on IBM's take on Web 2.0 and social networking, tune into Carol Jone's podcast.