In case you missed it, Microsoft bought Yammer. We await the results of this acquisition within SharePoint (we might be waiting some time), but it is certainly a clear admission that SharePoint doesn’t currently do "social" very well. Yammer is primarily a microblogging platform, albeit with a lot of other features thrown in, so it is fair to say Microsoft will use it to beef up this side of SharePoint -- user profiles, activity feeds, microblogging, status updates and so on. But what about good old fashioned standard blogging?
Blogging is Work
These days you could be forgiven for thinking the web consists of only two websites: Twitter and Facebook. As a result traditional blogging is no longer the poster child for "social" that it once was.
A few years ago every client asked me if their Intranet could support a blog. Apparently all the staff were going to have one, and most CEOs were very keen on using them as a means of communication. More often than not these grand plans never quite came to fruition. This was partly due to users underestimating the work required to regularly write good quality content.
Blogging is tough (I can testify to that) and simply having the ability to blog doesn’t mean you will or can blog. But there was also a second reason.
SharePoint Makes it Harder
Frankly SharePoint has always had pretty poor support for blogs and blogging. SharePoint 2007 offered a basic blog site template, but it certainly wasn’t any match for the likes of Blogger or WordPress. Unfortunately when SharePoint 2010 arrived it didn’t seem to offer any notable improvements.
Blog posts are presented in chronological order and can include author information. Posts can be filtered by category or month if required. Links are provided to an RSS feed, and also to share post links. But that is pretty much it. The normally active SharePoint development community hasn’t even come to the rescue, with no real third party answers to the problem.
SharePoint Blogging Wish List
With SharePoint 15 right around the corner we can only hope for some improvements from Microsoft. So what would be nice to see?
Scheduling of posts would be a good start. Anyone who writes regularly will know it is often best to do it as and when ideas come to you, not necessarily when you want to publish. Scheduling would really help with this.
Plus a dedicated stats component, just for blogging, would be good. Everyone likes to know how popular their writing is, and adding a little more than the standard SharePoint user reports would be helpful. Then (and this is where Yammer can help) a bit more integration with social networking tools. Being able to broadcast a post to everyone in a company, or your followers, would really add something.
So come on Microsoft. Microblogging is useful, but real blogging has a place in the modern social Intranet. So don’t ignore it, and bring the humble blog template up to date in the next version of SharePoint.
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading this by Chris Wright: