Socialtext -- Enterprise Social Software "As Socialtext deployments grow within organizations, here are some reflections on enterprise social software deployment patterns, based on observation of usage patterns of weblogs and wikis at scale on the public internet.
There are three main tiers of social networks in an organization, as Ross Mayfield describes. These map to different usage patterns of social software.
Project teams are creative networks, groups that work closely together. These teams use shared workspaces to communicate and collaborate intensively, and maintain a continuous, shared understanding of project status. Schedule and presence capabilities will make it easier for these groups to co-ordinate.
Communities of practice are social networks. Knowledge workers want to be able to scan, discover, and meet other in their disciplines across the organization. On the public internet, there are communities of bloggers in technology, law, teaching, and other fields using this model today. There are established wiki communities in technical areas, like Apache and non-technical areas, like, for instance, Kayaking, RSS subscriptions provide an excellent method for members of communities of practice to discover and follow relevant projects and conversations. Blog search engines, including Technorati and Blogstreet, that are used to discover network relationships among blog communities.
The enterprise as a whole is a political network. Weblogs can be used by executives to communicate in an individual voice across the organization. On the public internet, the relevant model is popular bloggers such as Joi Ito in Japan and Doc Searls in the US. The link structure enables the discovery and tracking of popular ideas, with blog search engines such as Daypop and Blogdex."