Last evening, Ross Mayfield, co-founder of SocialText hosted a conference call with a group of my colleagues. I’ve given my opinion about one element of the service, Social Signals, a kind of enterprise communications tool similar to Twitter over at ZDNet. Here is a 60 second video that explain the new platform. In this post I’d like to talk about the application from a professional perspective.
I’ve long held the view that content without context or purpose is meaningless. Similarly, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and other emergent technologies are fine but of little breakthrough value when used in isolation. SocialText 3 is the latest incarnation of SocialText and has evolved considerably from its wiki only roots. It is now a genuine enterprise 2.0 platform with the potential to be disruptive in all the right ways.
Practitioners could use SocialText 3 as the foundation for internal intelligence gathering and information sharing. Wikis provide the foundation but the addition of personal profiles on a dashboard that’s readily customizable makes using SocialText very easy with discovery a mouse click away. The addition of Signals adds an important element that helps users get away from the necessity of subscribing to feeds or using email as a communications mechanism.
Add in SocialCalc as a spreadsheet app and practitioners are within spitting distance of a workable practice management solution. The part that’s missing is direct access to accounting data that could serve as the back end ‘engine’ for many of the things professionals do. That’s not as hard as it might sound. The most modern systems I’m seeing provide technical ‘hooks’ that allow users access to other data.
Now take this one step further. If you’re using SocialText as a networking platform then it’s an easy step to see how it could help when working on client projects. Provide them access, use SocialSignals and the time element that always gets in the way of ‘getting things done’ evaporates.
What we now need are templated solutions to make this a reality. That’s why I’ve said elsewhere that SocialText should be working hard on business use case scenarios that bring the platform to life.