ConnectBeam – enterprise social bookmarking

Yesterday I wrote about Cogenz, a social bookmarking service targeting the enterprise. Another company that I am familiar with and have been using is ConnectBeam, which is the subject of today’s post.

ConnectBeam’s UI is more complex but it’s also doing a little more in an attempt to organize your bookmarks. This service revolves around the notion of “workspaces” which are basically collections of bookmarks. This is very logical but I see potential issues with this approach, which I’ll go into more detail later.

In addition to my own workspaces I can also see and post bookmarks to my colleagues workspaces. Again, this is social bookmarking for the enterprise. While I think it’s cool that I can see the bookmarks that my colleagues are capturing, what is missing in the social networking features that I saw in Cogenz which took all that co-worker data and made assumptions about their interests relative to yours; this is a feature I would really like to see in ConnectBeam.

I mentioned earlier that I saw potential issues with the workspace/collections model, these are realized in the posting bookmarklet (which did work in Camino). The first question I thought when posting to the workspace is that I could also post to workspaces that my colleagues had created… but what if there were several workspaces that were maintained by separate people and all with the same name? It seems to me that having workspaces in addition to tags introduces redundancy that can lead to confusion.

Speaking of the bookmarklet, there was one behavior of this script that I would like to see adjusted. Like many of these posting tools, the script captures some text from the page in question to be posted in the “notes” field, unfortunately, the ConnectBeam bookmarklet doesn’t capture text from the post but rather from the page as a whole. When posting something from this blog the script captures and pastes in text from the sidebar as opposed to the post body. This should be a simple issue to correct, but adding intelligence to the posting bookmarklet would be appreciated by users. I would also like to see all of these posting bookmarklets suggest possible tags (check out Tagyu for more detail on this approach).

ConnectBeam features good searching, in your workspace or across your company. There are the usual RSS features, profile settings, and basic analytics.

Lastly, SAP employees can use ConnectBeam today, the company has made the sap.com domain available in the self-registration form. What that means is that you can sign up for a user id today and begin posting and as more SAP employees use the service you will see their workspaces in addition to your own.

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7 thoughts on ConnectBeam – enterprise social bookmarking

  1. The workspaces thing sounds like it was designed to produce pockets of focused links for a department or function. My thought is that maybe just another level or privacy, like private, public or departmental coupled with tags would do just as good of a job and less confusing.

    I wrote a post back in may about my thoughts on bringing the social bookmarking experience into the enterprise. http://smilbandit.blogspot.com/2006/05/enterprise-social-bookmarking-ive-been.html

    My thoughts are as the person who would be maintaining the software as well as using it. I also assumed that an enterprise bookmarking system would sit inside the firewall and probably closely intergrated with the companies intranet portal.

    What would really be cool is if it would integrate with a proxy server so that the number of times a url is requested and the last time is filtered back to the bookmarking system and used for relavency and popularity.

  2. Thank you to all of you for your feedback.
    I would like to offer litte bit our perspective around Workspaces.
    Our decision to have information grouped around Workspaces was driven by the need to provide a framework where enterprise users could invite partners and customers into a select shared space.
    In the absence of a higher node than just a ‘tag’ this proved to be difficult – to manage what is shared around a specific (or more) tag(s), with whom, and with what levels of previleges.

    I agree, if we are deployed via our appliance inside an enterprise, then integration with LDAP (or any user and auth directory source) can begin to solve this problem…but not completely.

    Your feedback is well taken. We are and will continue to look for ways to make the application more user friendly.

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  5. I can’t seem to find the Workspaces or RSS feeds, I just did the quick free signup, should I be seeing these options?

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