Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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3/11/2009
12:16 PM
David Berlind
David Berlind
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ReviewCam: Socialcast Privatizes The Power Of Twitter, Del.icio.us, And FriendFeed For Enterprises

In this, our first ever "ReviewCam", Socialcast CEO founder Tim Young demos his company's namesake service while we're "rolling tape" on the demo. For $1 per user per month Socialcast offers its customers a private service that includes Twitter-style microblogging, Del.icio.us-style social bookmarking, and FriendFeed-style lifestreaming. But for brownie points, Socialcast also integrates with the actual Twitter, Del.icio.us, and other social networks like YouTube, Digg, Facebook, and Google Read

In this, our first ever "ReviewCam", Socialcast CEO founder Tim Young demos his company's namesake service while we're "rolling tape" on the demo. For $1 per user per month Socialcast offers its customers a private service that includes Twitter-style microblogging, Del.icio.us-style social bookmarking, and FriendFeed-style lifestreaming. But for brownie points, Socialcast also integrates with the actual Twitter, Del.icio.us, and other social networks like YouTube, Digg, Facebook, and Google Reader.According to Young, Socialcast will integrate with 45 public services in all as well as certain wiki's that companies might be running on their own. For single sign-on, Socialcast integrates with directory services like Microsoft's Active Directory via the Security Assertion Markup Language, aka SAML. (text continued below)

(continued from above) As you can see in our ReviewCam (above), the main user interface of Socialcast very closely resembles the sort of lifestream you might see on services like FriendFeed.com, Tumblr.com, or Swurl.com. Lifestreams typically take your digital persona, which may be disaggregated across multiple social networks, and reaggregates it into one interface so that people who want to "follow" you don't need to go to 14 different places to see the thoughts you're sharing via Twitter, the bookmarks you're sharing via Del.icio.us, the videos you're sharing via YouTube, and so on. Instead, they can just go to your lifestream. For example, you can find my FriendFeed-based lifestream at http://friendfeed.com/davidberlind.

So, much the way FriendFeed re-assembles your lifestream into one user experience, Socialcast does pretty much the same thing. Socialcast also can roll multiple employees' lifestreams into a larger lifestream that represents the collective activity of a group of co-workers that you might want to follow (or the entire company).

So, why would an organization want to pay $1 per user per month for Socialcast when it can cobble together the same functionality from free public services that already exist? Because it's private. For example, if you see a Web page that you want to share with the rest of your co-workers but you don't necessarily want to show the rest of the world how important that Web page is to your company, then you can bookmark it with Socialcast's private Del.cio.us-like social bookmarking capability instead of using Del.icio.us itself (since Del.icio.us) is public.

The same goes for Twitter-like microblogging. Much the same way you might tap the wisdom of the crowd by asking a question on Twitter, you could do the same thing with Socialcast (and keep that question private). Within seconds, the rest of your company would see that question and could respond to it. Young shows an example of this exact process on our ReviewCam.

Using the private side of Socialcast isn't a requirement. If, for example, a user wants to ask a question on Twitter as well as on Socialcast, Socialcast can be configured to pull Tweets (as well as bookmarks, blog entries, photos, etc.) in from specific Twitter accounts. For example, if I was a Socialcast user, I could point Socialcast at my Twitter account so that my Socialcast lifestream also would include everything I'm doing on Twitter (or on YouTube, Flickr, etc.).

All in all, I was quite impressed with Socialcast and strongly recommend that companies take advantage of the company's "first 10 users for free" offer to discover its ability to dramatically flatten an organization's collaborative processes and efforts to share knowledge.

For you investors out there, Socialcast is private and entirely self-funded at this point and has some large customers like Guitar Center. According to Young, Socialcast has some announcements coming very shortly regarding an injection of venture capital.

David Berlind is an editor-at-large with InformationWeek. David likes to write about emerging tech, new and social media, mobile tech, and things that go wrong. He can be reached at dberlind@techweb.com and you can also find him on Twitter and other social networks (see the list below). David doesn't own any tech stocks. But, if he did, he'd probably buy some Salesforce.com and Amazon, given his belief in the principles of cloud computing and his hope that the stock market can't get much worse. Also, if you're an out-of-work IT professional or someone involved in the business of compliance, he wants to hear from you.

Twitter: (@dberlind)
My Facebook Page  (Facebook should have a namespace like Twitter, FriendFeed, and the others)
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FriendFeed (davidberlind)
Del.icio.us (dberlind )
Me on LinkedIn (LinkedIn should have a namespace as well)
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