UPDATE: Download Workgroup Twitter for SharePoint.
I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the successful and superbly organised SharePoint Best Practices Conference in the UK a couple of weeks back. Really big thanks to Steve and the team!
Anyway, my first session was all about demonstrating how SharePoint could be transformed from mild-mannered team collaboration server, into cutting edge super-social platform for next generation knowledge management applications. (phew!)
Now, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, SharePoint of course being born before the Social boom which is now upon us, but this is something I’ve long been interested in and something that I’ve been working hard on, with a large enterprise, for the last 18 months or more. So, I had a fair bit of experience under my belt, and could bring with me some solid real-world examples.
Our new blogging platform, which is available for demo here http://demo.zevenseas.com (and available for purchase, contact firstname.lastname@example.org) was where I started. I’ve really enjoyed watching this solution grow at the customer I’m working with, and there is real business value to be gained by making publishing to your intranet as quick and easy as writing an email. But, I wanted to try and do something a little cooler.
Twitter is all the rage right now (even Oprah is on board now), and for good reason, its a great community tool. A great way to connect to people interested in the same things you are, great way to get questions answered and find links shared. While I’m sure there is a lot of skepticism out there, I’m convinced that there is a real place for a service like Twitter inside the firewall.
So, with that in mind, and given the similarities between Twitter (essentially a micro-blogging service) and our existing Blogging Platform, I decided the second part of my demo was going to be (Drum-Roll) “Twitter for SharePoint”!
Before we get into it, there are a couple of things I would like to point out:
- This is a proof of concept, not working live production code.
- I’m not sure this will ever “get into the wild” as I’m still not convinced SharePoint can handle it. Remember, be careful of the “If you are a hammer, then everything looks like a nail” syndrome.
- It does work. I demoed it live on stage, and even under those bright lights, it did actually send little messages.
I’m going to spend time in a follow-up post talking about some of the possible business benefits that a solution like this could deliver, but for now, I’m just going to share some screenshots.
How it works
- It integrates with the “My Colleagues” functionality which you can find on your MOSS “My site”. This integration means that you “Follow” anyone you make your “Colleague”.
- When you want to send someone a message you use the normal “@<person>” syntax. The current version defaults to using your Windows Account Name (without the domain)
- Its a “Site” based feature which you can activate wherever you like. So it could be part of your “My Site” or it could sit on a “Twitter hub” in its own dedicated Web Application.
This is what it looks like
Long time readers will already know I’m not much of a designer, but here is what it looks like:
The pictures come from your “My Site” profile, replies are any messages that contain an “@<your account name>” and the “Colleagues” view show all the messages posted by anyone listed in your colleagues list.
Writing a new message is as simple as entering it into the “Chatbox” and clicking “Send Message”, of course you are restricted to just 140 characters.
To reply to someone you just need to click on their picture to have their “Address” automatically entered into the text box.
And that’s it! All pretty simple really, although there are a number of technical challenges under the covers. If you think this solution looks interesting drop me an email, email@example.com and I will keep you informed of our progress.