Our web team hit a bit of a wall this week with our Web 2.0 project. As happens with teams that are working on a lot of projects simultaneously, we needed to step back and evaluate what we had accomplished and reassess our goals. We had two additional projects with relatively short deadlines pushed onto the team this week. The stress of this, on top of the push we had been making with the Web 2.0 initiative reached a critical point. SharePoint has limited us in some areas in which we wanted to move quickly. The departments we have wanted to get internal Web 2.0 projects moving with seem to want more functionality that we had worked into our SharePoint toolbox thus far. We need to take some additional time for researching SharePoint web parts. We had also wanted to get a tool working this week that allowed us to update both our Twitter and Facebook pages at the same time. There are a number of tools that work when you want to update a Facebook profile and Twitter, but we are using a Facebook Fan Page and the tools are not geared that way. I thought I had found one, but have not had any luck getting it running. The project, for a new time keeping system at our nursing home, that we pushed as our first project to use SharePoint has not adopted SharePoint as easily as I had hoped. The team members are in favor of using the site, but seem to want to push all content to us to publish rather than taking advantage of the interactive capabilities of SharePoint. In general, our progress slowed.
We did get some press for our Web 2.0 initiative. The local NBC affiliate, WGAL, did a piece on our Courts use of Twitter and also mentioned our Facebook page. I think that they and our Court Administrator did a nice job of focusing on the functionality instead of the technology. So it stayed on message, that being that our initiative is about improving communication and solving problems with this technology not using it for technology’s sake. I have uploaded the video for anyone who is interested – Cumberland County, PA Web 2.0 on WGAL.
Some really good points about the growing pains which can be experienced. The path to Web 2.0 is not linear and perhaps it should not be.
Sharepoint is NOT Web 2.0. Your anecdote about people wanting to use the site without actually, you know, using the site is not uncommon. Is there a reason why you decided to use Sharepoint than something that was built to do social media? As an aside, check out products like Neighborhood America, SocialText and others that have a built-in Sharepoint connectors that actually do bring social media capabilities to Sharepoint rather than just the lip service you got from the Sharepoint guys.
Thanks for the feedback Steve. We know that SharePoint is just a platform and that we need to implement Web 2.0 tools within it. I will definitely check out those products you mentioned. We are trying to find the right resources, but for a product that Microsoft touts as the can do anything platform we are having a difficult time finding good resources.
Yeah – we found that out about MS and their “do everything” platform too. Sure, it can do everything, if you’ve got unlimited funds and staff to build it, customize it, and maintain it. As for social media, it’s sorely lacking – they’ll tell you that it can give you blogs, wiki, etc., but they’re really saying is that it can give you blogging, wiki, etc. capabilities. So yeah, you can use the Sharepoint blogging platform – you can also use a wrench as a hammer if you want to too. Sharepoint does a lot of things well, but like everything in life claiming to be a do-it-all solution, it usually ends up doing a lot of things, just none of them well.
Bill – another place to look is KickApps. They are a white label social networking platform that can really operate like a social operating system. The cost is much lower than Sharepoint and it is pretty straightforward for non-technical people to add new capabilities through the use of widgets and gadgets that are freely available on the web. Glad to discuss more at length, just pop me a msg. Good luck, it sounds like you at least have a group that is trending in the right direction!