Twitter Alternatives That Are All Business

Microblogging, or short-form text updates via the Web, has become a hot trend for enterprises that want to help employees share information internally. Here's a look at how three businesses are using Twitter alternatives for microblogging, plus best practices for implementing it.

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Tue, December 01, 2009

CIO



When Twitter launched in 2006, few people could have predicted how microblogging would change online communication. Today, microblogging, or short-form text updates posted to the Web, has exploded in popularity. As a result, a number of microblogging applications for the enterprise—Twitter alternatives that do just a bit more—have surfaced.

The latest example is Salesforce.com's recently announced Chatter, its new software aimed at connecting enterprise employees through personal profiles and status posts that can detail, for example, current projects or customer visits.

During a speech at the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff referenced the need for collaborative, business-focused tools: "I know more about these strangers on Facebook than I do about my own employees and what they're working on," he said. "I know when my friends went to the movies, but not when my VP of sales visited our top customer."

And that's why more companies are adopting microblogging tools in the workplace, analysts say. "[Microblogging] is fulfilling a need that e-mail can't really do. These fast-blast messages really help people stay in contact without using the heavier tools such as SharePoint," says Jeremiah Owyang, a partner and strategy consultant at Altimeter Group. "And one of the big things that's helpful is that these technologies can be used from mobile devices, so as people continue to travel and are on the road, it's easier for companies to keep them updated."

Read on to learn how three businesses are using microblogging successfully and four best practices for implementing it where you work. See our related story, "12 Microblogging Tools to Consider" for a list of useful microblogging tools that businesses are using today.

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