Will Social Software Replace Email in an Enterprise 2.0 World?

6 thoughts on “Will Social Software Replace Email in an Enterprise 2.0 World?”

  1. Nice detailed post Luis.

    From my perspective, I think the issue can be defined as a problem with the total user experience and not the just the tool itself, otherwise, people wouldn’t be spending 24/7 browsing facebook. 😉

    Facebook makes it easy for the user to be able to load the site ‘fast’, has simple UI, and pushes everything in one space.

    What I really notice within social spaces is that a novice user is typically overwhelmed at the amount of noise vs signal. Being in too many places at once and not being able to keep up with it.

    Being able to have it all in one space (like you mentioned – a email client) really works.

    I know many people who live out of their web browsers and rely on cloud services to run their whole business operations. Infact, a client of mine is running her whole brokerage off a cloud app that I helped design.

    But if I were to ask her to setup a blog within WordPress or Connections, she would be lost as the user experience is not aligned with her expectations.

    Very nice post and definitely thought provoking.

    P.S. Looking forward to your social network ‘black-list’

  2. Luis- You are still too buried in the work of the web. I think many of the social tools are still far too hard, and it is not only an issue of visiting the website. Blogging, wikis, tagging, etc are NOT second nature for most people. There is a whole mental process around _participation_ that needs to be overcome, along with the user experience issue.

    Facebook helps overcome this barrier, but then it is closed within its own walls.

    I’ve always thought that web feeds (RSS, Atom) could be a way around this, but they haven’t been as exciting to the wider market because they are the plumbing rather than the attractive finish.

  3. Luis –

    Great points. But you left off an important group of browsers: the mobile browsers. The blackberry and to a lesser, but growing, extent the iPhone, are the most important communications within an organization. Email works great on them, but many web communication platforms do not.

    In the web 2.0 world, many platforms having taken this on challenge. Facebook works great on the iPhone and the blackberry. Twitter (of course) works well.

    But few Enterprise 2.0 tools do well on the mobile browsers. I know from first-hand experience that SharePoint 2007 was nearly inoperable on the BlackBerry. I can’t speak for the products from your company.

    Until Enterpise 2.0 bridges the mobility gap, they will not be able to effectively compete with email.

  4. I think Twitter and Facebook are treading new ground as there is starting to be a blur between what’s a status, message, link blog, chat, etc…When you can do lots of different communications from the one window it kind of becomes easy like email.

    In email, from the one window, I can decide to share a link, video, photo, converse, broadcast news, ask a question, etc….

    You are right the web browser is a fundamental barrier to entry. But what about desktop apps like Tweetdeck, etc…

    My hope is that these apps will become the new dashboard where I can see activity happening and respond to it. It’s easy access as it’s running on my desktop, and it will take me 2 seconds to bring it up to and post something.

    BUT, what if Outlook becomes a social network…It may resemble Facebook, but with a better private message feature (ie. email)http://blogs.msdn.com/outlook/archive/2009/11/18/announcing-the-outlook-social-connector.aspx

  5. @elsua I was amused at the closing paragraph on reading from a feed reader. I was talking with @minlii yesterday (for hours), and part of the time was spent on migrating from the Flock feed reader to RSSOwl. She installed RSSOwl while I watching on screen sharing, and I coached her through some of the fine points of the user interface (e.g. layout as vertical view, group by date).

    People who are comfortable with e-mail clients (as opposed to those who like webmail through a browser) may have to be educated to the benefits of a feed reader. I’m not sure that an e-mail client and a feed reader should be integrated into a single package, but people don’t seem to have any issue with the bundling of e-mail with calendaring … so maybe not.

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