Social Collaboration: How to Monitor an Activity Stream

By David F. Carr

Most social collaboration systems allow you to view a company-wide activity stream, with all the most recent public updates from every employee, everywhere. There is no real parallel to that in public social media. Even if you could tune in to all the posts from all Facebook users, the messages would scroll by too fast to read. There are automated systems, primarily for marketing analytics, that try to digest the full “fire hose” of all the posts coming in to Twitter, but that would be no fun for a mere human.

Instead, in ordinary social media, you choose who to follow or make online “friends” with, and the websites show you items associated with those people. At most, you may get a peek at content from friends of friends (and from advertisers). Even that can get overwhelming if you add connections too liberally.

The scale of social collaboration within a company isn’t quite as extreme as the broader social web. Still, a company-wide feed is most useful for small organizations that find it a good way to keep everyone on the same page. On the other hand, the company-wide feed from a large global corporation wouldn’t be very useful as your default view of the stream.

Fortunately, you can make the feed more manageable by narrowing it to only activity from your connections on the social network or by applying other filters. For example, Jive provides a standard filter that looks at your profile, your connections with other employees, and the projects you are involved in to identify items that are likely to be interesting or useful to you.

You can also make the feed more useful for everyone by giving feedback and sharing good content from other participants with your own networks or with specific people for whom it is relevant.