Web-based communication systems for companies and groups seem to be all the rage these days. From what I can tell, such systems fall into two groups: the ones that are built around projects, tickets and the like (such as Basecamp and the app that my company uses, activeCollab), and enterprise microblogging platforms that are more like Twitter and Facebook (such as Socialtext and Socialwok). Flowr is definitely in the latter category, but adds many features that are specifically aimed at organizations.
Flowr’s home screen looks very Twitter-like. But in addition to status updates, users can create several other types of posts, including ideas, questions, events, to-do list items, and polls. Flowr also allows posting of larger documents (complete with links and images) that can be edited, wiki-style, by anyone who the original poster gives access to. One can mention others using the Twitter-style @ syntax, and files and tags can be attached to each type of post.
Each of the above post types can be shown in one main screen, called “My Flow,” or can be viewed by category, so that, for example, all of the to-dos can be viewed together.
Flowr also includes groups, which are rather like a cross between a private BBS and LinkedIn’s Groups. Users can create and join groups related to specific topics. Group discussions can be public or private (invitation-only).
Flowr’s people directory links to user-editable profiles that show contact information. The directory is searchable by such fields as expertise and language skills, which I can see will be very useful in larger organizations. As in Twitter, one can follow the posts of selected users.
Flowr has several tools that allow it to integrate with your workflow, including an iPhone app, a bookmarklet for saving and sharing web content, and a system for posting via email (like Posterous). Updates from Flowr can be shown on the desktop via the Yip extension for Firefox. Interestingly, though, Flowr doesn’t include an instant messaging function.
In addition, Flowr is planning integration with Google Apps, which is scheduled to become available next week. And Flowr has an API so that developers can create custom applications using the app.
The free version of Flowr supports up to 10 users and two groups. Flowr is currently rolling out a premium version with unlimited groups, custom themes and analytics, that will be priced on a per-user basis.
Flowr isn’t Basecamp-style project management, but it may be just the thing for organizations whose members like to interact via social networks.
Have you tried Flowr?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise