I went off social networking some time back now; I put it down to already being listed on lots of websites and wanting to preserve an extra degree of anonymity. Not that there's much chance of that once you're listed in most of the normal places – www.192.com and the like have a lot to answer for!
With that thought in mind, I find it slightly perplexing to see that software development for enterprise-level social networking is on the up. Among the protagonists in this space is Research In Motion who has been pumping out native BlackBerry apps to give users access to Lotus Connections social software for business.
I'm not sure whether it's a strange move to go for Lotus' communication apps. I know they're supposed to be the most powerful – but then so was Betamax and VHS still won the day didn't it? I did use Notes for a year once when I was working for IBM in a press role. It wasn't necessarily the most pleasant e-mail experience of my life.
Anyway, what looks like being the crunch factor in whether these apps take off is whether the software engineers developing them can incorporate desktop level – wait for it – 'collaborative functionality' and actually share corporate information effectively. There's a simple cost-benefit analysis to be made here – do these apps improve decision making and help increase profits? If they do, we'll see them mushroom. Well, maybe grow at least.
RIM's CEO Mike Lazaridis has been quoted recently as saying that, “Organisations are embracing social networking tools to improve productivity and enable workers to find the experts and information within their organisations that can help them get their jobs done more effectively.”
That may well be a finely tuned quote from the corporate message set selection pack, but the only time I've really gone from BlackBerry to CrackBerry was when I did a heap of travelling to various developer conferences across the US last summer and used one to keep my sanity levels up and my inbox down. It kind of kept me out of the airport bars anyway which I counted a good point for personal progress!
With globalisation on the up, 24x7 communications an absolute reality and me trying to cut down on my intake of Miller Genuine Draft – maybe it's time to bake up some Big Blue BlackBerry pie after all?