[Remember that even though I work for IBM I am an individual with my own thoughts and ideas. Anything I write here may not necessarily represent the views of the IBM Corporation or its partners... though I'm hoping that's only a matter of time before they catch up.]
As I participate in the
There is some interesting discussion about tooling and how it can and should play a part in our social interactions. One interesting thought is the combination of traditional email, calendar and tasking with social interaction to keep an eye on the things that you find important. Some of these parameters could be defined by you, and some could be discovered by the software. For example, I identify my manager to the software and tell it that I want to treat communication from him as urgent and to warn me about items that are aging. At the same time, the software observes my activity and creates suggestions for which items I may want to deal with first.
Extending this into work resources, a combined system could keep an eye on communication and tags placed on interaction. If it knows that I'm working on a project with a particular skill set, and knows of other people in the organization who are normally associated with that skill set it could give me recommendations to include them in the conversation.
Of course, we want to be cautious about removing the humanity from what we do and prevent our work days from simply following the machine's instructions... but the ability to do better networking in my organization, particularly in a big mega-corporation, is extremely useful. I think it becomes more critical as the workplace becomes more virtual and we no longer chance across interesting people in the lunch room.
Some people have said that for people who have grown up with social tools that email is dead and all but useless. I have a hard time picturing that... which probably puts me in the dinosaur category. *sigh* I think there will continue to be a need for thoughtful, crafted communication, just as there continues to be a need for a hand-written note. But I can see a case for having various methods of communicating all easily accessible with my communication tools reminding me of which technique works best with which individual.
Strangely, I don't prefer a big monolithic suite for this. I find that inevitably a super-multi-tool ends up with weaknesses in one area or another. However, if we have standards that define how this interaction works, then I can have a tool that helps with monitoring and scoring which can call upon my favorite IM, video or composition tools. There could be a monolithic program which let's me re-route certain functions to my preferences.
It will be interesting to see how this landscape evolves and how it will affect the people I communicate with and how that interaction takes place.