I guess we all know the "nay sayers" who don't really grok social networking, so I just wanted to share a very quick example of how Twitter can work for you in a 'work context' - I assure you that the vast majority of the 142 people I follow are tech industry related, with some close personal friends who tweet making up the remainder.
So, onto my example. As the least technical 'SharePoint dude' in our IT division it is my remit to focus on the KM aspects, metadata and taxonomies, best practices, site IA and collaboration stuff. However I had been asked to look into the use of compound documents with SharePoint (what Documentum calls a Virtual Document). After quite a bit of googling I had not found much in the way of information or add on products. Actually I will caveat that, there is plenty about the new features in SP2010, but not much about add-ons to MOSS2007.
At 3.22pm local (Toronto) on the 1st of Feb I tweeted:
"Anybody know of any 'compound document' add-ons for SharePoint (MOSS 2007) ??? DM me a link if you do please."
Within minutes I was in a Twitter conversation with David Turpie, an information management professional working in the Library at the Open University in the UK, and an old colleague of mine. David pointed me to a few resources I had already found, but at 3.55pm he 're-tweeted' my original message.
A whopping 7 minutes later I got the following:
It turns out that link Virgil sent was extremely useful. So just over half an hour after broadcasting my query, I had bounced around some suggestions with an old colleague, and recevied a spot on suggestion from someone I have never met before, in a different country.
Does this simple example not prove the worth of Twitter as a 'business tool' ? Hopefully if you can prove this kind of use case, it may help you if your bosses are wondering why you want to know what that bloody Ashton Kutcher bloke and Demi Moore had for breakfast, and what that has to do with your work.
While we are on the subject, I had a quick back and forth with John Mancini of AIIM yesterday, via twitter, on the different tastes for combining (or not) your 'personal' social network, with your professional social network. Personally I try to keep them apart, FaceBook for social, LinkedIn for professional, but sometimes they meet in the middle with Twitter. There are of course plenty of ways to aggregate your feeds, and I like Digsby, but I can't download it on to my locked down desktop machine at the office....... :-(
Finally if your interested in social media inside the firewall for E2.0 / Intranet 2.0 and your in the Toronto area, check out the seminar being help by my old colleagues at Prescient Digital Media: Social Media Tools, the Best for your Intranet 2.0 strategy on Feb. 10th (they're on Bloor, opposite the ROM). You can go straight to their registration page.