Despite the early (8:30 a.m.) start this morning at SPTechCon Boston, Joel Oleson‘s Making SharePoint Social session was very well attended, and a fully engaged audience at that, as befits a session whose topic is social interactivity. Also befitting the social subject matter, Joel officially incorporated his fellow conference speaker, Paul Swider, into the presentation, with Paul delivering a mid-session demo on some of the social features available in SharePoint 2010.
Joel began acknowledging that “sometimes it’s difficult to sell [social] features to the business,” and stated that his goal with the session was to help attendees understand “what’s really in the box, and how to sell it to the business, but not oversell it.”
By way of introducing the benefits of social SharePoint, Joel discussed the scattered “silos” of information across many companies, information which is often spread across multiple platforms, and pointed out the difficulty that many workers face in finding the information they seek in the enterprise as a result. With SharePoint, not only is there a common UI, but with social features introduced in 2010 such as tags and ratings, information which might otherwise be disparate begins to bubble up. Directly addressing the reasons why SharePoint needed social, Joel called them out as being: “you can’t find anything; you can’t tell who owns what; you can’t tell what’s new, what’s old, and what’s changed; and it’s all disconnected.”
“How can we help make sure what’s put in[to SharePoint] is relevant, and tagged in such a way that you can get it back out?” This is one of the questions that Joel posed for consideration, and he suggested that, in part, the answer is through “integrating technology and social interaction … we’re trying to help people do their work better.”
Joel mentioned that, default, ratings are turned off in 2010 (as are the social features in general), and must be activated in order to be available to users. In response to a question about how ratings work, Joel explained that “ratings are a setting in a list,” and this led to Paul’s joining the presentation with a demo that included showing ratings, tags, My Site components from an end user perspective, and the User Profile Services Application and Managed Metadata store from an admin perspective.
Within the User Profile Services Application, Paul demonstrated the Manage User Sub-types feature which is new to 2010, and which allows admins to “pick which type of user [should have] appropriate properties” when defining properties within the Application. Paul also explained that it’s possible to map the Managed Metadata store back to the User Profile properties, which is accomplished via “groups, which have term sets, which have terms.”
Joel explained that through the availability of “tagging from the term store … we get a lot of normalization across the enterprise,” and pointed out that 2010 supports both taxonomy and folksonomy in terms of tagging. Paul went on to demo exactly how user properties are associated with a term set, through the use of the Add User Profile Property feature.
Paul’s final demo before handing the reins back over to Joel was of the ability to tag any site (including external/Internet sites and non-SharePoint sites) within SharePoint 2010 through the use of the Tags & Notes Board available in the My Site.
For the bulk of the remainder of the session, Joel focused on the Activity Feed, and the importance of understanding what shows up in the Activity Feed. For example, Joel pointed out that it won’t show up in your activity field that you uploaded a document to a library. What will show up in an activity feed, however, is pretty much anything associated with your profile / My Site, and Joel cautioned that “the content may not be public, but the tags are.” As a result, Joel strongly advised that you should definitely “do some training” around Activity Feeds before rolling out the social features to your organization. Because once you’ve tagged something, the tags are available to the entire enterprise, so you’ll want to bear that in mind … and use this tool responsibly.
Joel wrapped up the session with a slide featuring his “Ten Steps to Social 2010,” and they are:
- Make it Accessible
- Enable Good My Sites
- Build Rich Profiles
- Relevant Enterprise Search
- Use Blogs & Wikis
- Integrate for Presence
- Build Discovery Navigation including external sources
- Archive the Old
- Enable Enterprise Content Types & Tagging & Ratings (Service App)
- Relevant Sticky Site Content
Bamboo Nation’s complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2010: