Socialwok is the among the first mainstream social media applications that is directly aligned with the ability to get work done. Plenty of companies allow the use of Facebook, Twitter, Ning, and other utilities, as well as a variety of groupware to facilitate collaboration. However, because of its very close integration with Google Apps, the very tool adopted by millions of businesses as their groupware of choice, Socialwok is unique.
I had the chance to speak with Ming Yong, co-founder of SocialWok, about their service and installed it on my 6geeks.net domain to give it a spin. It's difficult to do it justice in verbage, so I'll defer to a video tour of Socialwok's features that the company prepared:
While this is obviously a nice dog and pony show, I can certainly attest to its accuracy and the ease with which social features can be added directly (and for free) to Google Apps. Techcrunch has also covered the suite, particularly focusing on their Facebook, Twitter, and Google Buzz integration.
Like the other applications I've featured in my Apps Roulette series, Socialwok leverages most of the Apps APIs to integrate with Google Calendar, Gmail, Buzz, and Docs, tying everything together in a Facebook-style, feed-oriented interface.
Many of us have successfully implemented a Ning page or rolled out some sort of social tools either within our business or as external venues for communications. However, how often have you encountered resistance from employees who don't want to use or check "one more site"? Most people will happily use Facebook and/or Twitter and email, though, so what if you could simply overlay the social tools in Gmail/Docs?
This, in fact, is precisely what you can do with Socialwok. As you saw in the video, you can largely live within the Socialwok interface since email, docs, appointments, etc., are all available through Socialwok. Similarly, Socialwok adds commenting and sharing capabilities to posted Docs, emails, events, etc. You can "follow" other users, forming virtual teams within an organization and organizing these teams into feeds. The same feeds, including your own, can be pushed out to Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz. Feeds can also include people outside your organization; this is particularly important given how difficult it is within vanilla Apps to collaborate with outside organizations.
Obviously I'm enthusiastic about this tool. The expanded social utility that it creates within Google Apps is quite significant and has the potential to change the way a lot of companies work. This won't be for everyone; many organizations are absolutely not ready to embrace social media within their business processes, no matter how progressive Google Apps may be standing alone. However, for those looking at ways to improve collaboration and communication in a manner that fits with users existing expectations in the Facebook age, then Socialwok needs to be on your very short list of tools that can make this happen.