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8 Ways to Use SharePoint for Social Computing

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Categories:MOSS; WSS; 2007; 2010; General Knowledge; 8 Things; Social Computing

Guest Author: Joe Cromer

You probably are aware that SharePoint is a great fit for most organizations document management and collaboration needs. What about social computing?  SharePoint gives you a good starting point. What do you do when SharePoint falls short? Here are 8 ways companies can extend SharePoint’s out-of-the-box capabilities to better fit their social computing vision.

1 -- SharePoint My Sites

SharePoint's My Sites functionality encourages interaction among employees and offers a very basic, but corporate equivalent to a Facebook profile. My Sites let employees learn about each other’s interests and expertise. However, My Site can also be pretty underwhelming and stale for the avid Facebook user. To make it a viable social computing tool, organizations should consider extending them past their out-of-the-box limitations. Consider installing third party products like nGage by OI Software. nGage gives My Sites a real WOW factor such as a visual “reputation," scoring user contribution using criteria such as their openness, creativity and contribution level. 

2 -- SharePoint Team Sites

Team Sites provide a centralized collaboration tool to manage teams and projects and include tools such as document libraries, lists, group calendars, tasks, contacts, and announcements. It is possible to extend this functionality with products like Kiiro collaboration software.  This extends the basic SharePoint team site to allow Twitter-like status notes by team members giving instant updates as well as an impressive “Who’s on What” type of dashboard.

3 -- SharePoint Blogs

Blogs can be a top source for up to date expertise from subject matter experts. User generated content often provides in-depth knowledge garnered from individual interests and subject matter experts. Harnessing this knowledge within the organization can provide a wealth from untapped resources. Within SharePoint, every My Site includes a blog. Individual blogs, as well as blogs associated with Team Sites can be archived and indexed for searching, becoming a resource for collective organizational knowledge. 

As internal blogs become more successful you’ll quickly outgrow SharePoint’s standard functionality. With a little technical help during implementation, leverage Community Kit 2.0 available for free on CodePlex. Extend SharePoint’s basic blog with Tag Clouds, friendly URLs, multiple categories for postings, and even comment spam detection if you want to implement this on your public facing website. 

4 -- SharePoint People Search

Another key desire for many organizations is to easily locate users within the organization by searching their profiles for specific keywords.  NewsGator can extend search past the keywords and find experts your coworkers have scored as the most knowledgeable. Extend SharePoint’s people search to display these traits in the results, enhancing SharePoint with a very efficient way to track down the top experts for any challenge. 

5 -- SharePoint Wikis

Wikis created within SharePoint are an excellent alternative to share knowledge, allowing others to edit and contribute through a simple interface. SharePoint wikis incorporate all of the features of SharePoint to secure and control the content: permissions, version history, document check-out and in, and approval workflows. Again, we recommend the Community Kit for SharePoint. Add custom page templates, tools for importing content from other wikis, and a web part that shows pages ranked by hits/popularity. It’s easy and free.

6 -- SharePoint Community Sites

SharePoint gives you the ability to create community sites b and invite or give access to users. SharePoint security groups control access to the content in the community. Blogs, discussion groups, and Wikis can easily be added and monitored using basic SharePoint functionality. NewsGator offers a powerful tool to quickly create and facilitate community sites around new ideas and innovation inside a company’s SharePoint Portal. Encourage quick and lightweight conversation with features like MicroBlogs. Automatically populate community sites with content related to their community site topics. NewsGator is also already boasting how they extend SharePoint 2010 features and seem well ahead of the pack on the R&D side with their product development team. 

7 -- SharePoint Announcements of New Employees

If a SharePoint Portal is in place, adding new employees and posting an announcement to your landing page is quick and easy. Asking everyone to fully complete their My Site profile on their first day also allows information to be instantly available to co-workers and more fully integrate them into the organization right away.

Add key data to new employee announcements using products like AASoftech’s OrgChart Webpart . Integrating directly with SharePoint, this web part adds a great resource for an HR department to add further detail to a new employee announcement. Instantly update your company’s org chart and announce how they fit in by just adding the new employees to Active Directory.

8 -- SharePoint Social Computing Outside Your Network 

SharePoint Groups are an efficient way to control user access to all your SharePoint content. As security models go, SharePoint is a pretty effective security structure for controlling how your Social Media features are viewed and used inside your network.  But what if you want to involve your customers, partners or vendors?

Trying to design and maintain an efficient security strategy can be overwhelming when planning for a large quantity of external users and groups. If you’re looking to extend your social computing strategy to include customers, partners and vendors, Awareness Social Media Marketing Software offers you tools for handling security as well as extending your strategy to include users outside your organization. 

This article was originally posted on AIIM President John Mancini’s Digital Landfill blog which contains links to many other “8 things” articles. Some of the 8 things articles have been published as a series of free e-books, available at

Guest Author: Joe Cromer

An integral part of Risetime’s Managing Consultant Team, Joe Cromer enjoys the challenge of staying up on the latest Microsoft technologies. Joe and his team have completed a wide variety of Microsoft SharePoint consulting projects. A few notable clients include, as Dollar General, Ariel Investments, Suzlon Wind Energy, Global Lead, McHenry County, and Lake County.




8 Ways to Use SharePoint for Social Computing

Thanks much for posting this article. These are some great tips on customizing SharePoint for a more social experience. This is a great way to connect coworkers and collaborate on projects. Keep up the great posts!

MSFT Office Outreach Team

Posted 12-Mar-2010 by Andy

8 Ways to Use SharePoint for Social Computing

Thanks for the post. About 200 of the Global 2000 have decided that SharePoint Social = NewsGator. We keep SharePoint current with the lastest/greatest in consumer social networking, for all sorts of use cases. All of our Fortune 100 accounts working currently with SharePoint 2010 are insisting on adding NewsGator socialsites too, to insure SP for internal and external consituents is as social as all the other experiences those constituents are having. Including mobile! our iPhone app a huge hit...

Posted 13-Mar-2010 by JB
SharePoint Daily

8 Ways to Use SharePoint for Social Computing

Microsoft Launches User Experience Kit; The Collaboration Tool of Choice; Comfort in the Cloud... Top News Stories SharePoint—The Collaboration Tool of Choice (University of Texas) For departments...

Posted 15-Mar-2010 by SharePoint Daily

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