Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Author: Geoffrey Bock (Page 2 of 5)

Social Publishing with Drupal — New GG Whitepaper

I just published a new white paper, Social Publishing with Drupal, sponsored by Acquia and also available here. We forget that publishing and blogging (including this post) are stove-piped operations. But what would happen if we could intelligently keep track of all these disparate threads, combining the authoritative content from trusted sources with insights from friends and colleagues, organized contextually around the ways we think about things and make decisions? Social publishing is a new lens for delivering business value.

Here’s the executive summary for the white paper. Click the link above if you’d like to learn more. What’s the future of social publishing? Let’s start a debate. /geoff

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Social publishing combines groomed and authoritative content, produced by an organization and emphasizing its core messages, with user-generated content that customers contribute via blogs, wikis, and social media tools. Drupal is an example of a social publishing platform, developed and maintained as an open source project, and delivered at an affordable cost.

Drupal is now deployed in major media companies, high technology firms, universities, magazine publishers, government agencies (including the White House), research groups, and non-profit organizations. Whether it is in a commercial, non-profit, or government setting, organizations rely on Drupal to project their presence over the web and to channel the interactive experiences that foster communities of contributors.

By leveraging Drupal’s capabilities as a social publishing platform, organizations are able to reinforce their branded experiences and deliver relevant content to their customers and stakeholders. By exploiting Drupal as an open source project, developers supporting these organizations can easily enhance and extend Drupal’s capabilities, and introduce innovative modes of interactivity that meet specific business requirements.

Drupal is an attractive investment with substantial business benefits. Organization can keep their license and support costs modest by building on an open source project. Organizations can leverage the collective expertise of Drupal developers to solve immediate publishing problems. By relying on Drupal, organizations can stay abreast of the rapid technology changes when building competitive solutions for the digital age.

Social Networks as a Feature in Email

Saul Hansell has a tantalizing tidbit in today’s NYTimes, a report that Yahoo! and Google are thinking about making their email systems ‘more social.’ “Web-based email systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That’s why social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends.” Our personal email applications should keep track of who is most important to us, and let us know when those messages arrive.

Saul’s report opens Pandora’s box about the future of Enterprise 2.0. The dirty little secret is that our e-mail in-boxes track our social networks by default — who we communicate with, when and in what order can be as interesting as what in fact we say (or do not say). Our personal address books are more than a random list of names — they’re the ‘black books’ that contain the people with whom we’ve exchanged messages in the past, or want to communicate with in the future.

We intuitively track our business networks through our use of email — the names of folders we use when filing messages, the subjects we attach to messages, and the threads of a back-and-forth discussion are all grist for the social networking mill. Gmail, for example, collects message threads into a single record. This is a handy innovation, which helps to cut down on the message clutter that’s so prevalent in Notes Mail & Outlook.

The real challenge is that messaging inside the enterprise is frozen in time — captured by the two most widely deployed messaging applications, from Microsoft (Outlook/Exchange) and IBM (Lotus Notes). It’s hard to believe that these are legacy platforms.

We need to rethink what else we can do with email inside the enterprise — Lotus Connections goes a long way towards staking out a few essential services. These include an “intelligent” enterprise directory & a tag cloud that relates to communities within the enterprise.

We need to do a lot more with features around privacy, security, organizational boundaries, and context.

Tools of Youthful Rebellion . . .

I’m not a regular commuter anymore and rarely catch “All Things Considered” during drive time. Yet yesterday afternoon I had the good fortune to listen to Andrei Codrescu (always a favorite commentator) expound on “From Poetry to Web: Tools of Youthful Rebellion.” Listen & enjoy!
With all the hype around Facebook apps, Web 2.0, and social media, it helps to keep a poetic perspective. Yes the times they are a changin’ — the torch is being passed to a new generation . . . but whether we are digital natives or immigrants, we still need to extract the business purposes from all the interactivity and information available at our fiingertips. What hasn’t changed is the limit of the 24 hour day — how we can work productively and play passionately within it.

Wither Web 2.0? Come to Boston

Perhaps it’s cyclical — like the long Indian summer we’ve been having here in the Northeast. The Web/Enterprise/stuff “2.0” buzz has died down (for now) and we seem to be into the hard business of real application development. Perhaps this is a good thing — running on hype does little to transform businesses or pay the bills.

Certainly there’s been a lot of excitement around Facebook as a collaborative platform for digital natives (and fellow travelers). Yet the long-lasting innovation, I think, is around the APIs and the notion of “open platforms.” Of course Google was first to open the komono with its wildly popular Web services API into Google Maps. Now we’re trying to make mashups of social networks.

I’m curious but not convinced. Facebook is building out its community — Google is not far behind, pursuing the notion of social graphing. So far we can do all kinds of useful things in the consumer space. My favorite this week is friend finding — which also leverages GPS technology. But business applications? I haven’t heard of anything really compelling, yet. I’m still looking.

Which brings me to a preview of coming attractions. My colleagues Steve Paxhia, Nora Barnes, and I expect to cut through the Web 2.0 hype next month and shed some light on industry trends. We’ll be reporting the results of our industry survey at our Boston conference. We’ll have a statistically significant profille of what collaboration and social computing tools are being using in American businesses — beginning with email and Web sites and assessing many popular forms of social media. We’ll snapshot how effective companies rate these tools and also report on what each tool is best suited for. And I expect that before we’re done, we’ll have a few indicators of next generation collaborative business applications.

So join us, November 27th – November 29th in Boston.

Notes as the New Mainframe

IBM released Notes 8 and Domino 8 earlier this month — two years in development and “the industry’s first enterprise collaboration solution largely designed with input from its customers.” IBM has devoted a lot of its efforts towards creating an integrated user experience — messages, calendar entries, file folders, and queries to business applications can all appear within a single, tiled window. With customized sidebars and tool bars, application developers can add “peripheral vision” to the user experience, and integrate a variety of plug-ins. While this user interface style is hardly revolutionary, it does cut down on window-clutter and will go a long way towards improving the usability of complex application environments.
IBM has also introduced “message conversations” into Notes email. Rather than messages being displayed as discrete items, they are concatinated into their discussion threads — with the root message and all the replies captured in a single list. This reduces Inbox clutter — 150 messages (the average daily total for a “typical” Notes user) can be reduced to eight or ten threads.
For organizations that made the Notes investment some years ago, there’s no need to consider alternatives or doubt IBM’s commitment to it’s core collaboration platform. Like the mainframes of an earlier computing era, Notes remains a solid messaging platform with integrated calendaring and contacts. It continues to serve as a development environment for ad hoc (workgroup-level) applications.
But I wonder about the growth opportunities for Notes. Many of us are quite comfortable with the “traditional” business activities engendered by this latest version — sending and receiviing messages, scheduling and attending meetings, contacting people. Yet when we have so much information readily accessable at our fingertips, we are continually looking for new metaphors for doing work — bringing people together over the network, restructuring business processes, improving decision making. More is at stake than simply “reducing clutter.” We need to focus as much on the “collaboration services” accessible within the network as on the quality of the user experience itself.

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