Social Computing and SharePoint

I also attended Dan Lewis‘s session, “Social Computing and Blogging with SharePoint”.  Dan kicked off the meeting showing this youtube video “Twitterscape“. It’s a funny parody of what social computing has become (HUGE!) After that, he starting talking about SharePoint and social computing. Is SharePoint a tool for social computing? Why, yes. It has many built-in features that qualify the SharePoint platform for social computing purposes. Users can have profiles. SharePoint users can collaborate using discussion boards. In SharePoint,  users can implement wikis and blogs. All of these SharePoint features qualify it as a social computing tool.  Although SharePoint has all these features, SharePoint might be an overkill for what an organization is trying to do. For example, if an office is trying to implement just knowledge management through wikis, there are cheaper (even free) solutions for that. If the office just want a blogging tool for their employees, there are cheaper alternatives too. The metaphor that Dan used to describe implementing SharePoint just one of its features is like “driving a Ferrari to catch a bus”. Organizations can get their money’s worth on SharePoint if they use most if not all the available features in SharePoint. When an office need to implement wikis, discussions, and blogs, implementing different (non-SharePoint) solutions to meet all those needs, it is time to go to SharePoint. Example: if an office uses WordPress for blogging, MediaWiki for wikis, and then PHPBB for message boards, the organization now has to maintain different software? That’s like going to Walmart for milk, Safeway for meats, and then Whole Foods for veggies and fruits. Wouldn’t it be better if you just did all your shopping in one store, a “one-stop-shop” solution? That “one-stop-shop” is SharePoint. In that scenario, it is viable for the organization to invest in SharePoint because it needs to use most if not all of its features anyway; why bother with multiple software–just use SharePoint!

1 Comment

  1. Good point. I think many organizations say we need to collaborate and therefore we need SharePoint without properly defining what types of collaboration they need to do. As you pointed out there are many other tools that support collaboration and social interaction that can be used. For organizations just starting out it may be best to try a free solution first to avoid sticker shock and creating more SharePoint haters.

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