Image representing Salesforce Chatter as depic...
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Of all the Salesforce.com product options featured at Dreamforce last week, the one that was probably pushed the heaviest - and closest to my heart - was Chatter. Chatter acts as an internal network between licensed Salesforce users within an organization. During the week, Salesforce did one better unveiling Chatter Free, making the internal social network able to spread company wide and not just limited to licensed users.

So what are the benefits of an internal social network? Collaboration. Much of what our company does involves teamwork around a particular incentive program. This involves a lot of emailing and large files attached to those emails. Chatter enables those team members to collaborate in one space as to easily track activity included with that program. Users are also able to post files, presentations and other large documents onto the site without clogging up the inbox file size limit.

Social networking is expanding simply past tweeting what we had for breakfast this morning (I had oatmeal in case you were wondering) or building up land on Farmville. The concept of a social network has useful and (gasp) productive elements associated with them.

So why do many companies still block social media?

You don't have to be a Salesforce customer to take advantage of different online collaboration tools. Outside of other internal networks like Yammer, more traditional social networks provide an avenue for teamwork. Take the new Facebook Groups as an example. The feature allows you to build a social network within the group, empowering users to add as many to a group as necessary, make posts and even live chat with those in the group.

Using social networks as business tools improves productivity when used correctly. Sure the occasional personal blurb gets out there but how many times do we use email for the same function?

Outside of Yammer, Facebook Groups and Google Wave (may it rest in peace), what other ways are you all seeing social networking being used for collaboration efforts? Are companies that still block social networking behind the times?

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