One of the great advancements from SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 is the inclusion of advanced social features. This means some fairly simplistic features that allowed SharePoint to match several industry standards, but the Microsoft efforts went well beyond the call of duty. One of the most useful elements added by Microsoft is the social bookmarking feature. In this entry we will briefly touch on what this feature is and how you can make the most out of it.
A Brief Definition of Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking has not been a standard ECM feature – partially because the concept has, since its inception, seemed fairly distant to businesses. In much the same way that Twitter and Facebook have moved from purely person-to-person mediums, however, social bookmarking on the whole has produced immensely positive effects in the business-to-person market.
But what is social bookmarking? Those not already familiar with sites like Delicious and Digg may find some brief elaboration useful. The simplest definition is that social bookmarking is any compilation of useful links provided by users of a site, service, or group. To some degree social bookmarking is natural in your business; when one employee says to another, "I know a great article to read about that" and provides them with a link, that's a social bookmark.
Social bookmarking can, but doesn't necessarily, come with a number of additional features, including descriptions of links, the name of the person who submitted the link, and group rating features.
Social Bookmarking in SharePoint
This is all great, and hopefully you'll see already why an ECM can benefit from bookmark sharing resources, but how does it apply to SharePoint? Beyond having social bookmarking features that are more than a little impressive, Microsoft has stated clearly that they're continuing to work on and develop these features – both in SharePoint 2010 and in the upcoming versions of SharePoint.
Right now users have access to numerous bookmarking features, including:
- The centralized SharePoint database of bookmarks.
- A tagging system that allows for improved organization of links.
- An accessible design for the interface.
- The ability to tag specific users to call their attention to a resource.
- And much more.
While this is a business resource as opposed to a social one, remember that without people actively using bookmarks it's impossible to get the resources you really need. Encourage your employees to use these available tools, customize your interface by using web parts and work with SharePoint consulting groups, and you'll be surprised at how much more effective your employees can be. As a self-serve system, social bookmarks are an invaluable way to make data resources more available without increasing your labor hour investment.