Taking Social Networks into the Office

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Business Week has just (six days ago) published an interesting article on social networking start-up Visible Path who are developing a type of MySpace for the Office and have just been given $17 Million to do it.This is different from the usual type Social Networking or LinkedIn system we’re used to. Essentially, Visible Path would have the corporation setup a social network for their internal people it would populate through the observations of their use of existing email exchanges, messenger, etc.Aside: This makes me wonder about the strength of Google Desktop Search. Using the Desktop Search API (is there one?) someone could conceivable write a program to help me keep track of who is important in my life today (with call logs it would be even better.) Imagine an on the fly cloud that would let me know who is important based on calendar entries, emails, phone calls, msn chats. And i could look from day to day (or hour by hour.) End of My Aside 🙂The example given in the article of Law firms resonates with me considerably – I know of a company that make communication software allowing for those who may be on the opposite sides of cases (though within the same firm) to avoid communication, raising flags or provide warnings etc. The Social networking of Visible Paths on this level may actually muddy these waters considerably rather than help.The premise for this software (i.e. moving beyond LinkedIn) is interesting. Linkedin is becoming more and more a Job search utility. I’ve been on there for years and had no contacts for getting anything done professionally. I can see the argument for a social network inside a larger company as this would allow the flow of tasks to the appropriate people more quickly – this could be the glorified org-chart that the 21st century needs. That said – I highly doubt though that this will be something companies will open up to the outside, especially for outside Sales people to use (the privacy rights and potential headhunter problems are too large.)Generating Cold Call leads is a business that has been developing for several years; at least by my memory. This can be used just as easily for sales as it is for recruitment etc. There are numerous systems for generating contacts with the people within organizations they are pretty much Google Search/cache on steroids. There’s Spoke Software which uses its database to allow you to find the people within a target organization. There’s also Zoom Info which allows you (if you subscribe to the pay version) to search extensively into the background of the people you may wish to call. There’s also OpenBC which also allows some management and digging of contact information.Maybe a Social Networking dynamic is an important tool for problems like these but I’m not convinced.

The Author

Hi. My name is Matt Roberts, you can find me at www.mattroberts.com.

1 Comment

  1. mattroberts - the site » Blog Archive » Web 2.0 Breaches the Corporate Firewall! says

    […] Following onmy post on how Social Networking might be the next thing for inside corporations now Facebook has joined the game… and named a number (10) of customer who will work in their Beta of a corporate social networking system. Its an impressive list, including: Accenture, Amazon, Apple, EA, Gap, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, Pepsi, PWC and Teach for America. […]

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