One of the more interesting products NewsGator has built is Social Sites, a set of templates, web parts, and profiles for Microsoft Sharepoint that extends that product in some interesting ways.
First and foremost, we are layering in a comprehensive RSS feed management capability that provides end users and administrators with the ability to manage a catalog of feeds. The admin functions are important simply because most users in an enterprise need a starting bundle of feeds to get going and administrators want the capability to push feeds, internal and external, to users.
There is another aspect to the feed management that is important here, filtering and relevance. Most of us don’t need more feeds, we need better filtered feeds and recommendations from people we grant authority, either through working relationships or peer groups. The tagging and sharing enables this so that my workgroup or peer group, colleagues I add to my sidebar, can see what I am sharing.
I recently wrote a post on Microsoft Sharepoint being something similar to Facebook for the enterprise. When you look at the profile pages that are managed by users themselves you can start to see how this is taking shape as a concept. While it is certainly unlikely that we will see a web part equivalent of Vampires, a Twitter web part does seem like a good fit.
More importantly, by looking at someone’s profile, in this case Ashley Roach’s, I can see what areas of interest he has, technologies he follows, and his projects. Many of the social networking projects being targeted at the enterprise, such as SAP’s Harmony, promise exactly this kind of capability so it’s kind of cool to be able to say that we can do it today.
Lastly, by stepping back up to a global view of the Social Sites service I can see what feeds and groups are moving up and down in popularity, as well as a global tag cloud and recent posts. Useful data and presented in a straightforward manner.