Socialtext is no stranger to taking cutting-edge Web technologies and converting them for enterprise use. The company has been around for several years, and was known for building enterprise wikis, but over time has been regularly adding other new Web technologies. This has led to the latest incarnation of the Socialtext service, which is pretty much a smorgasbord of new Web technologies. Along with its classic wiki capabilities, Socialtext (www.socialtext.com) includes a Twitter-like messaging feature, blogs, social networking capabilities and an optional RIA (rich Internet application)-based desktop interface.But if your business is looking for something more like Facebook for business, Socialtext is probably worth looking at. The main browser interface of Socialtext is the dashboard. This is a classic customizable widget interface that lets users get a quick birds' eye view of their projects, business connections, tasks and important information. From here, users can quickly jump into any task or project. The main organizational units in Socialtext are Workspaces. Businesses can create Workspaces for projects, tasks and other collaborative group efforts. To see a slide show on Socialtext, click here. For the most part, the core part of a workspace is a classic Socialtext wiki. I found this to be a very good wiki implementation, providing rich or plain text editing, lots of good file and document integration, and revision and tracking history. The microblogging, Twitter-like aspect of Socialtext is called Signals. The question asked in this case is "What are you working on?"--really pushing the business focus. While not as rich as Socialcast, the Socialtext microblogging feature worked very much like Twitter and was effective for sending out status messages or carrying out communications. I found the social networking aspects of Socialtext to be pretty good. Within the dashboard itself it was easy to keep track of other employees whom I was following. Clicking on another user's name or image brought up a very detailed profile page, including a list of who the user was following and who was following him or her; what workspaces the user was a member of; and any public updates the user had made within the system. Users can also add custom tags to other Socialtext users. For example, I could tag "Bob" as a Java expert. For those wanting a non-browser interface into Socialtext, the service also provides a free application called the Socialtext Desktop, which is built using Adobe's AIR RIA technology. Interestingly, the look and feel of this interface is in many ways different from the main browser interface, with most of the emphasis on the microblogging signals and social networking aspects as opposed to the dashboard and workspaces. Socialtext is priced at $15 per user per month with volume pricing available. It is offered in both a hosted SAAS model or as an internally deployed appliance system.
These capabilities make Socialtext a lot more robust and feature-rich than Socialcast, but also increase the learning curve. For businesses that want just Twitter-like capabilities, Socialcast is probably a better fit.