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Understanding social computing in SharePoint 2010

From: SharePoint 2010 New Features

Video: Understanding social computing in SharePoint 2010

If your administrator hasn't turned them off, you'll have access to what are sometimes called the social computing features of SharePoint 2010. These take the usual parts of sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and integrate them into your SharePoint file. A lot of these features are initially driven from the top-right section of any SharePoint site that you're on, where you see your name or your user ID. If I click it, I'll get a few options here for My Site and My Profile and My Settings, and what you'll actually find as you start to explore these is there are a dozen ways to get to the same place, but there's really three main sections to this.

Understanding social computing in SharePoint 2010

If your administrator hasn't turned them off, you'll have access to what are sometimes called the social computing features of SharePoint 2010. These take the usual parts of sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and integrate them into your SharePoint file. A lot of these features are initially driven from the top-right section of any SharePoint site that you're on, where you see your name or your user ID. If I click it, I'll get a few options here for My Site and My Profile and My Settings, and what you'll actually find as you start to explore these is there are a dozen ways to get to the same place, but there's really three main sections to this.

There's something called your profile, information about you that you want to make available across SharePoint sites so that other people can find you. There's a section called your newsfeed, also sometimes known as the activity feed. This will show you what your colleagues are doing in SharePoint. And then optionally, there's your content. If you click the My Content link, you'll actually be taken to a personal site. this is the closest thing to the My Site in SharePoint 2007. And the My Content link is the only one where the first time you click it SharePoint will actually create a new site just for you.

And most of the links that you will click when working with the social computing features are really just taking you to some part of your profile screen, your content, or your newsfeed. In fact, even the link My Site just takes you to your newsfeed. As I mentioned, the newsfeed is sometimes called the activity feed. Now, I actually find that a better name for it, because most of the time what's showing up here is automatic. It's not about you choosing to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds. What it's going to do is read your colleagues from the user information that SharePoint knows about and actually tell you what your colleagues are doing inside SharePoint, what they're tagging, what events are going on.

In fact, you can choose what shows up in your newsfeed or activity feed by selecting your Newsfeed Settings. This link is actually allowing me to edit My Profile, where I'm selecting from a bunch of checkboxes here about the activities I'm following. I'm interested in status messages and blog posts and whether my colleagues have changed their job title or their manager. And it's the settings here that will actually control what I see show up in my newsfeed. So the newsfeed is actually driven from your profile screen, and this is the thing that you're likely to edit more, because this will show up to people who are searching for you or possibly searching for some keywords in that.

Now, I have obviously uploaded a picture. I have changed some information here. If it was blank, I do have the option here to Edit My Profile, where it will draw quite a lot of this information from your user directory, say Active Directory if you have it, but you can add some information. The About Me information. You can choose a picture. You can enter in some of your specialty areas, and here I'm saying that people can ask me about SharePoint and iPhone and programming. There's a bunch of optional information that you can do here about Time Zones and Assistants and Past Projects.

All of this information becomes searchable and all of this becomes more useful the more people add this into SharePoint. Towards the bottom of this Edit Profile page is the same thing that we just saw about the activities I'm following. This is what's directing your newsfeed. You also have a status message up here that you can just select and click on to edit. And when other people are looking at their newsfeed, this would count as activity that they would see showing up.

On the Profile page, you'll also see sections like Organization. If you have Silverlight installed, you'll have this kind of rich media pop-up that will actually start showing you the colleagues that it's reading from the user profile store. I can go over to Content. I don't really have a lot of content to show here. I haven't actually created a blog, so there's no recent blog posts. We do have things like the Colleagues and the Memberships section, which again will read this information from Active Directory, as best as it can, though you may need to manually add colleagues if you believe that your network is a bit bigger than is actually being shown here.

And then there's the interesting section called Tags And Notes. You don't typically change anything here. What you're actually reading is being driven from activities you've done elsewhere in SharePoint. Say I'm looking at a different SharePoint site and I decide this one is actually useful. Over here on the right, underneath my name, I have a couple of options here. I can click the I Like It tag and if I do that, I get a little message pop-up that I've tagged this page with I Like It. What does that actually mean? The idea is that any page in SharePoint, and if we choose to, even external sites, we can tag with some information, with some keywords or key phrases.

And the fact that I've clicked the I Like It button now shows up this icon in hot pink, a Tags And Notes icon, that if I click it will say that here you've got the tags I Like It on there now. I Like It might be a good enough tag, if I think that will work, but I could also add my own. If this page was to do with the annual report project that I'm working on, I might put in a phrase like Annual Report. You can do multiple tags separated by semicolons. Now, if there are certain words that are already being used, like I type in Sha, it's actually detecting that other sites and other pages have been tagged with the word SharePoint and even SharePoint 2003 as a phrase and SharePoint 2007 as a phrase.

And I could select from any of those, or I could type something else entirely. And then I'm going to click Save. Bear in mind that by default if you tag pages in SharePoint, those tags kind of become part of the social structure of your SharePoint sites. So you can choose to make things private if you want to. If tagging is not enough, you also have what's called the Note Board, which is in the same section here, where you can actually add your own notes to this. If you want to add a description or a question, you can do that.

And as you start going through SharePoint and tagging different sites and using phrases and keywords, what will happen is back on your profile, this will start adding to your tags And motes section. It will show you your activity and it will start building what's called a tag cloud over here, where the tags that you've used will actually show up in different sizes depending on how many times you've used them and will allow you to drop down into the SharePoint tag and see how many times you've actually tagged content with the word SharePoint or the word annual report and so on.

So the Tags And Notes section of your profile is really driven by whatever you do on other pages in your SharePoint site. Going back to the Tags And Notes section of my profile, I don't yet see anything in my tag cloud for annual report, because I had just used that phrase for the first time. But if I refresh this page, I actually see it showing up here now in the tag cloud. It's pretty small, because I've only used it once. When you start building out the information in your profile, things like your skills, the past projects that you've worked on, this all becomes searchable so that you can, from within the section, click in the Find People search box.

And perhaps I'm looking for someone who has project management experience, or at least someone who says they have had project management experience, and I find two results. One of them is me, because I had put down a skill as project management, but I also have Gini Paxon who shows up, that even has an Ask Me About Project Management, which is good. I can click on her name and see her profile. Obviously here I don't get the ability to edit it. And now the way I've got this set up, apparently she is a colleague of mine, because I can see that we both share the same manager.

But if she wasn't, I could also use this page to ask her some questions. Because she has said Ask Me About Project Management, I can select that link and type in a question that I would have here. And that would be considered activity for her as well. So your profile page is really the page that is driving everything. It drives the activity that shows for other people. It drives what's going to be shown up in your own newsfeed.

The final piece is the My Content link. Again, this is the closest thing to the SharePoint 2007 My Site. This is the only thing that's actually a real unique site, just for each individual. I haven't done much with My Content here, but I could put some shared documents or personal documents up here. Whatever I put in Shared Documents would then be also considered as activity. I am deciding to share it. Other people can see it. I could upload things into Personal Documents, although do be aware that this is not completely personal.

This would still be visible to the administrators on this server, so keep that in mind. If you made use of the My Site feature of SharePoint 2007 to store documents, you'll probably find that this is the closest equivalent.

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SharePoint 2010 New Features

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