16 Comments

Summary:

Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity – particularly over the last year – has been widely covered, and indeed the simplicity and flexibility of the 140 character-based microblogging platform continues to attract people all over the world in huge numbers, while a thriving community of developers build add-on services using its open API. We’ve also heard a lot about the power of Twitter as a communications, promotional and marketing tool.

Twitter and other microblogging services are radically shifting the ways in which people communicate and share information. And that shift is now entering the workplace on a large scale, particularly for web workers and for companies who are embracing the ways in which microblogging platforms can save time while increasing productivity.

Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity – particularly over the last year – has been widely covered, and indeed the simplicity and flexibility of the 140 character-based microblogging platform continues to attract people all over the world in huge numbers, while a thriving community of developers build add-on services using its open API. We’ve also heard a lot about the power of Twitter as a communications, promotional and marketing tool.

twitter-feb-chart
(via TechCrunch)

Twitter and other microblogging services are radically shifting the ways in which people communicate and share information. And that shift is now entering the workplace on a large scale, particularly for web workers and for companies who are embracing the ways in which microblogging platforms can save time while increasing productivity.

Yammer, which plays off the already classic Twitter call to action, “What are you doing?” by asking, “What are you working on?” is an easy-to-use microblogging service that is tailored to the workplace and organizations in several important ways.

As Hutch Carpenter boldly states, in a piece called Microblogging Will Marginalize Corporate Email, “As more companies take up microblogging with services like Yammer, Socialcast, Present.ly and SocialText Signals, employee communications amongst employees will both increase and divert away from email.”

Carpenter then presents an equivalently bold image to illustrate how he believes microblogging can reduce the glut of email in the workplace.

microblogging-marginalizes-email

Indeed, while I was at South by Southwest in Austin this past week, I heard people joke around to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if all emails had to be 140 characters or less?” Services like Yammer and Socialcast help to reduce the burden and overload that email brings to the workplace by providing the simple, flexible communication of microblogging with a number of specific work-related features.

While Twitter offers private accounts, services like Yammer and Present.ly impose a higher level of security by locking each network down to only those people who have an individual company email address.

The additional draw of these services in comparison to Twitter are features such as tagging, archiving, groups, attachments and mobile compatibility.

The combination of content aggregation features and microblogging features also offers a powerful way for groups and organizations to communicate and manage tasks and workflow. FriendFeed Rooms is a great example of this, as it allows RSS feeds, messages, links, images and video to be brought into a “room,” or group page (which may be private/invite only or public), with each new post creating the opportunity for a conversation thread. New activity in the room (new threads, posts, comments or “likes”) can be observed by seeing which thread appears at the top of the page.

FriendFeed Rooms has the power to be a game-changer in the microblogging space, creating an easy-to-use yet powerful communications platform for organizations and web workers while helping to reduce email overload. For example, the contributing writers for louisgray.com (of which I’m a member) use FriendFeed Rooms as a primary point of contact and communication.

ididwork is one of my favorite microblogging services, as it provides a sleek and streamlined approach to short real-time communication and archiving while also providing managers with a great task management feature set. Particularly for distributed work teams, ididwork can provide a basis for communication, information management, and work flow while drastically reducing the headache of wading through hundreds of e-mails each day. ididwork for employees is free while ididwork for managers costs $5 per month.

Are microblogging services reducing the number of your work-related emails?

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  1. Kevin Cooper Monday, March 23, 2009

    I hope so, in fact I got an email the yesterday from a person that I normally chat with via IM. My reaction was, email? Why email? I felt like I had jumped back in time.

  2. GoEverywhere Team Monday, March 23, 2009

    I don’t think email will ever be fully replaced, but it’s amazing to see the growth that social media and microblogging. I admit to logging onto Twitter several times a day from my webtop, to check in with colleagues and continue conversations. I haven’t checked out Yammer and Present.ly but they sound interesting as well. Thanks for the tips!

  3. benjaminwright Monday, March 23, 2009

    E-mail and microblogging are just two items within the big, growing cornucopia of e-business tools for getting work done. Other tools include macro-blogs, telepresence and various flavors of social networking. The employer’s challenge is to discern the difference between productivity and wasteful social chit-chat. –Ben

  4. What to read on GigaOM Network Monday, March 23, 2009

    [...] of the smart grid. (Earth2Tech) Hulu grew 33% in February, now 4th largest video site. (NewTeeVee) Can Twitter help reduce the email glut? (WebWorkerDaily) Personal clouds + netbooks = Mobile Super Computers (jkOnTheRun) iPhone 3.0 OS [...]

  5. Wouldn’t it be nice if all emails had to be 140 characters or less? « All about email, Message Compass Monday, March 23, 2009

    [...] Source [...]

  6. olegshilovitsky Monday, March 23, 2009

    Micro-blog sounds like good alternative for email for collaboration –

    >>>Micro-blogs and Micro-content for PLM
    http://plmtwine.com/2008/12/18/micro-blogs-and-micro-content-for-plm/

  7. I agree Benjamin that there are now a host of communications platforms to choose from. The leading edge companies will, I believe, take steps to harness the power of social media to increase productivity.

    “Replacing” work-related e-mail, even in part, is a relatively revolutionary idea I’d say, so will be exciting to see where this goes!

  8. SXSW, Web Worker Daily, live FriendFeeding, and other stuff ¦ Online Media Cultist Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    [...] Say Hello to Blellow, Microblogging Web Workers * Can Microblogging Platforms Help Reduce The Email Glut? * Bootstrapping Web Workers Get A Roadmap At SXSW 2009 * Technorati Attention Index Ranks Authority [...]

  9. This is an interesting post. We have observed a reduction in e-mail usage in our company. We use cyn.in collaboration software and cyn.in desktop.
    http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/12/31/cynin-more-open-source-group-collaboration/

    cyn.in desktop provides micro-blogging feature where one can put his/her status message in 140 Chars :). We have stopped internal sharing files in e-mail. we now submit the file to cyn.in, every concern person receives a notification on cyn.in desktop and if needed he/she comments on file right from the desktop, the comments gets attached to the file in threaded discussion fashion.

    At company level reduction in e-mail saves time and information clutter, because every reply-to-all message creates multiple copies of same e-mail with little comments from the sender.

  10. That’s pretty cool Rob, and thanks !

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