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Social Networking Sponsored By Your Company - It'll Take Microsoft to Make It Happen....

You know, I'm starting to think this Internet thing is just a fad.  After all, if all my friends can't check in via Facebook from work, what's the point?   It's a Social Networking caste system, baby!  Of course, if you want to check Facebook from work, you could always leave BIG Inc. for a startup.  But then there's the deal about competitive pay and health care.  Details, details....

Fortunately, for you Facebook lovers, Microsoft looks to be moving aggressively to create a Facebook for the corporation.  And if there is anyone that could tear down the social networking wall in a company, it is the big softie from Redmond...

ComputerWorld checked in recently on Microsoft developing a Facebook-like application for your company:

"At the request of its SharePoint and Office product development teams, Microsoft Corp.'s Office Labs operation has created and is testing a prototype of an internal social networkTownsquare9096318_2 that can provide employees with feeds and updates about their colleagues.

Chris Pratley, general manager of Office Labs, is slated to disclose details of the prototype -- called TownSquare -- Thursday at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. He spoke to Computerworld today about the project, which was launched in January and has already been used by about 8,000 Microsoft employees.

With a layout that is strikingly similar to Facebook's (in which Microsoft invested $240 million in October 2007), TownSquare is fueled by enterprise news feeds that use Web services to query SharePoint for public information, such as promotions and company anniversaries, about an employee.

TownSquare also notifies users when a document or file is modified. Users can customize their feeds and monitor who is receiving information about them."

Couple of big points to me in this.  First up, Microsoft runs the IT show in most companies.  Why do you think they invested in Facebook?  Access to that technology/culture/thought train will do wonders for their efforts to embed better RSS/social networking tools in Sharepoint, other networking elements, Outlook, etc.

And once those elements are there, you are just a tweak or two away from interfacing with the outside world through those elements.

Be enthused or be alarmed as a HR Pro.  Depends on your perspective....


Jon Ingham

Hi Kris, great post.

I think there's a huge potential from inhouse social networking applications (greater then any other web 2.0 opportunity so I'd predict TownSquare should become even more successful than Sharepoint).


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