The more I use enterprise social collaboration tools the more I like them. Unlike the sluicing deluge of Twitter or the (often unhelpful) mash up of personal and business communication on Facebook, enterprise-only social media is a non-stop productivity stream.
That does mean there is one slight drawback to enterprise social media tools (see my 1-2 review of Salesforce.com Chatter Free and Yammer Basic at eweek.com shortly). Whereas I can pretty safely miss bits and pieces of information in Twitter and Facebook, I don’t feel good about missing important news that is flowing in the enterprise activity stream.
There are plenty of easy tools that can help. Chatter makes it possible to follow documents and files. The regular Chatter client found in the paid license editions and Chatter Plus can also follow deals and all manner of other information. Yammer let me segment questions or events so I could zero in on these types of communication.
The most important characteristic of both social platforms--and the many other social collaboration tools currently on the market--is that I was sure my communication was contained within a secure boundary and that I was talking with people who share a vested interest in our mutual mission success. To be quite frank, it felt like I was walking into a room where I knew everyone was on my side when I started testing these products with my fellow content and management users at eWEEK.
There is certainly a place for social network communication that is open to customers, competitors, pundits, researchers. But what is also clear to me is that there is an equal or greater value in bringing social tools inside the enterprise where they can really unleash some productive potential.