The Internet exists at the cutting edge of IT innovation, and changes in Internet trends impact the lives of its multi-million user base with unprecedented immediacy. Even though the Internet itself has been a social medium since its creation, more recently introduced Internet sites and services that sport the “social” moniker (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer, and many more) offer robust and powerful means of virtual collaboration between users. We’ve certainly come a long way since the BBS, IRC servers and bulletin board sites!
Since the Microsoft SharePoint platform aims to maximize information collaboration across users, it was a natural step for the SharePoint team to introduce social features similar to the ones offered by the sites mentioned above. SharePoint 2010
offered a few options like tagging and user profiles, but these additions felt like hastily tacked-on afterthoughts instead of feature-rich, streamlined solutions for supporting social interaction. Compared to other social services available on the Internet in 2010, SharePoint’s offering felt behind the times.
Microsoft’s upcoming SharePoint 2013
appears to have caught up to the social Internet, and clearly takes social computing seriously. With a well-planned feature set that includes commonly-used actions such as Follow, Like, Mention and Tag, SharePoint’s latest iteration looks and feels like a modern social computing platform.
In a recent article
, Chris Wright suggests that while Microsoft has begun to close in on other social services, SharePoint 2013 is a “missed opportunity” and continues to lag behind the competition. He points out that Microsoft’s recently acquired Yammer, a major player in enterprise social computing, and suggests that the social improvements seen in the SharePoint 2013
preview are little more than a stepping-stone to a significantly better release. While some of Yammer’s features are arguably better than those found in SharePoint 2013, they are certainly much more than mere interim solutions.