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An interesting aspect to the system is the concept of Friend Management.  In our organization, this is sleeper functionality.  When you befriend someone, you can use labels to organize your friendships into meaningful groupings. In the UI, go to Your Stuff > Friends and on the right hand side you'll see the Add/edit Labels.

You might be asking: What can this do for me?

By grouping your friends/connections into these buckets, you get an RSS Aggregation feed that notifies you when anyone in that grouping performs an action.

This is a very powerful way to follow people in the organization, whether you are in the SBS Dashboard, RSS Feed Reader, or external system with RSS Consumption Services.

 

Users can have multiple labels, so you can bleed a person across the different areas as you deem necessary by simply applying multiple labels to your friends.  Another important element is that this association is controlled by the user, not by the system.

 

It's pretty easy and very powerful, so give it a whirl and let me know what you think!  Any one have any other sleeper features they'd like to share?  Shout 'em out! =)

Ok guys, you got me.  Come up for air after a 1.9.0 to 2.0.2 upgrade, and you knock it out of the park with 2.5.x, yet again.  This along with all the other items on my plate, have led to a small hiatus in participation in the Jive community.  I can only hope that I am able to stay more active as time progresses....oh yeah..2.5.x...rock'n!

 

User Groups and Social Networking have been the missing elements in our community implementation, and here we are less than 1 year from our official community launch and we are getting ever so close to a fully self-sustainable community.  I can only wait until we go live with 2.5.x and all of our users will be able to take part in the new UI elements and features, as of right now...it looks like November 2008!

 

Some +1's for 2.5.x,

  • TinyMCE 3.x - so much more Web 2.0-ish than its predecessor.  Plus the ability to expose macros into the UI when creating content making it easier than ever for end-users to consume macro functionality.  It's Win freakin' Win!
    • The new Table of Contents Macro - I saw remnants of this in 2.0.2, but it wasn't activated.  Check it out....my thoughts are that you'll like it.  You'll like it so much you'll use the cleaner Style drop-down interface even more.
  • Social Groups +1 +1 +1, what more can I say...it was like Jive was reading our minds!  Scary, time to get out the foil-helmet again.
  • Friend associations.  I thought the Org. Chart view in 2.0.x was cool, but this is way better...interested to see how close our community users are once they self identify themselves as friends.
  • Concatenated Tag Searching - This one was one of my favorite sleeper features.  Click on any tag in Clearspace 2.5.x, and you'll be presented with a list of additional tags to further filter on.  Easily add and remove tags to see content...the interface is intuitive, and provide a nice shade of grey for Tag Groups.

 

So where do you go from here, only the team from Jive can say....but one things for sure...if they keep up this pace...I foresee another upgrade in my near future.  Have a feature you are super-psyched about, let me know...always interested to pass it along through the groundswell!

 

Take a gander through the Jive Interactive Intranet community.  Find some features tagged feature-request or enhancement, and share your thoughts on what you'd like to see in the next version of Clearspace!

At the university where I work, we use Clearspace X for student communities that are moderated by faculty members. A new position, Director of Social Network Development, was recently created in our IT department, and I will be applying for it. In preparation for my application, here are a few pieces of information I've gathered regarding possible integration of Clearspace with social networks.

 

  • Jive, with initial development by Face It!, recently released a  Facebook *Beta* Plugin for Clearspace 1.10x. In the  The specified item was not found., Dawn said that plugin will need to be ported to Clearspace 2.0 before it can no longer be considered beta. The Facebook plugin integrates the users' Facebook profiles into their Clearspace profiles, while allowing each user to control how (or if) their Facebook information is shown.

 

  • The  Flickr Slideshow macro displays a flickr slideshow in a Clearspace blog post, document, or discussion message.

 

  • The  YouTube Macro makes it easy to display YouTube videos in Clearspace documents, blog posts, and discussion messages.

 

  • Clearspace's  The specified item was not found. plugin helps you to scrape images from various social networks like MySpace, Socializer, etc.

 

  • Clearspace's blog pinging will send a ping to weblogs.com, Google blog search, and Technorati if blog pinging is enabled when a new blog post is created/published on your system. By default it is disabled in Clearspace and enabled in Clearspace X.

 

 

  • In  What does Google and Facebook's validation of DataPortability mean for the Enterprise?, Sam mentioned that Jive has committed to clear standards, like XMPP, and will commit to new standards as they clarify. Given the gravity of Google and Facebook, he feels DataPortability should be one of them. The purpose of the DataPortability project is to put existing technologies, techniques, policies and initiatives in context in order to facilitate translation, education, advocacy and ultimately implementation of data portability. Portability is defined as both physically moving data or simply porting the context in which the data is used.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm looking for additional social features and plugins to appear in Clearspace in the near future.     Maybe Jive can find ways to use the new Ringside Social Application Server to further the social aspects of Clearspace.

Because it's what the users want...

Or perhaps,

If we change it, then the user's will stop using it!

I know I am not alone in my innate skepticism to general statements such as these.  But how do you know what the users want?  More importantly, how can someone make the argument that users will stop using it? These are great questions, where the answers in the Web 1.0 mentality are as ethereal as time travel.  A proverbial stalemate in most case, resulting in most people choosing not to ask! 

 

This is where I see a great opportunity for the Clearspace(X) platform.  With its bevvy of features, including Polling, Forums, Reporting, and OpenFire Presence Integrations, I see the gap between the answers to questions like these closing rapidly.  Let's take a look at how I would propose the use of ClearspaceX and an established community to address these situations.

 

Proposed Case

 

Company ABC has an interactive user application XYZ.  Non-company  users use the ABC daily, posting information that has grown to be critical for company ABC efficiencies.  However, the company is evaluating a need to update the interface/functionality for XYZ.  In a meeting where solutions are pitched, a suggestion is made that will make XYZ more robust in the long-haul; however, as a trade-off, some of XYZ's existing functionality will need to be accessed differently, behaviorally changed, and/or lost all together.  After the dust settles, the aforementioned suggestion holds the best long-term strategies at heart; however, it is constrained by the above tactical constraints.  How do we proceed?

 

(assumption, statistically relevent sample of the user's of XYZ  are reachable via an Online Community. Kind of a Catch-22, but provides reasoning on why a community platform investment is valueable)

 

Step #1 - Polling

 

In the community, we would post some high-level Polls to gauge initial feedback. Variations of the question could resemble something of this nature: 

 

Which of the following features listed , do you feel is the most important?The answer set should include all features impacted by the recommended change, unless the list is long, in which case I would break the Poll into multiple Polls spanned over an appropriate time range.  In each of these Polls, it is important to provide an option similar to, "None of the Features are important to me". Assuming we receive a large enough sample, we can immediately add some credence to the argument that the highly nominated features are in-fact relevant to a certain degree.  An optional last poll could be taken to run the top most selected features from each poll together, to see their rank against each other.

 

At this point, we may or may not have additional steps.  Assuming that a large percentage of people did not select the "None of the Features are important to me"...we can now go to the next step.

 

Step #2 - Targetted Forums

 

Now that you have some direction where there MAY be some friction, using the Forums element, post some questions to the community, suggesting the necessary changes to the features.  Be up front about the impact, this is important.  If the feature will not be there, dont sugar coat.  A simple table presentation or easily digestable format is recommended.  You can choose to possibly only include your top-ranked poll selections if desired.  It will reduce the noise of the discussion thread most certainly; however, you risk losing an opportunity to get candid viral feedback about these features.  If any doubt, error on the side of inclusion!

 

Assuming we get a similar turnout for feedback, we can evaluate specific elements of a feature that are desired and focus on possibly achieving that vs. the entire feature altogether.  At this point, we should feel fairly confident in our understanding of these features, and their impact on application XYZ!

 

Note:  In most communities you have "star performers" that represent above-average participation in the community.  Be sure to take their feedback into consideration as a tie-breaker when in doubt.

 

Step #3 - Real-Time Interaction

 

If further clarity is stil needed, you can advertise an online chat, using the OpenFire Chat Integration in ClearspaceX.  Invite the target audience of participatns from the polls and forums, along with the rest of the community.  In this chat, I would be even more candid about why you are on the fence.  Ask direct questions to community, and open the floor for discussion.  Discussions in real-time tend to draw out more debate as they tend to favor hot instinctive discussion, as opposed to cold predicated thought.

 

Each one of these steps can be repeated in any order at this point to achieve the desired level of comfort, but at the end of the day.   You have tangible/quantifiable facts that represent the user-base, and can depend less on abstractions / interpretations of off-topic indirect feedback possibly related to the feature(s).

 

Summation

 

For companies that are highly dependent on satisfying a large distributed set of end-users, a community presence makes perfect business sense.  Not only can you argue the traditional "self-service" argument as users help each other, but an established community platform provides a sounding board for the business to create quick and statistically relevant analysis for litmus testing ideas in the incubation stage.  This will help to insure that ideas with solid business models with complementing solid understandings of the user receptiveness to said ideas are put at the forefront of development.   In the new era of Web 2.0, where agility is king, the concept of a community presence is an invaluable ally in building brand loyality with an ever-growing and demanding marketplace.

 

If you have similar experiences and/or feedback regarding the above process, I would love to hear it.  Especiially regarding how receptive communities are to cooperative changes to a community, in the face of losing features, as long as they are part of the process and the change is for the greater good.

Chief Knowledge Officer

Posted by Magpie Mar 18, 2008

I've got a new job! We'll more specifically a new role within the same company as it's CKO. It's taken about 18 months to get here so a moment of triumph is possibly applicable. However, since I've been tracking this role since it first appeared in the late nineties, the role may seem outdated.

 

Luckily during the passage of time a lot has happened, we are saying goodbye to Knowledge Management 1.0 and all things associated with its hype cycle and learning from the mistakes. Things like trying to manage knowledge instead of empowering knowledge workers.

 

Taking inspiration from Rod Boothby's The Chief Knowledge Officer's Dilemma blog on the subject, I can see some nice intersections with what Clearspace is trying to achieve i.e. the right technology and approaches to knowledge empowerment. Rod also has another great blog entry about the Glorious Centrally Planned Taxonomy which also fits well with Clearspace's tagging empowerment.

 

My role isn't just about applying the right technology or pushing the knowledge agenda, it also combines some very practical aspects like running a Program Management Office (PMO), Training, and Customer Support. In this way, I will be providing knowledge transfer support services to both internal and external customers.

 

I'll keep you posted along the way.

Let me start off by saying that I think Clearspace is truly unique in the Enterprise Software market.  The tightly integrated components and the Recommendation/Recognition engines are outstanding.  The User Interface is beautiful and the search works great!

 

That being said, here is my story:

 

So, as I'm sure most you of you have done as well, I tried to explain the benefits of Clearspace to my wife the other day during one of those "How was work?" conversations...

 

I told her:

 

  • You can easily publish content without knowing HTML

  • You can find content and people with ease

  • You can subscribe to spaces and people that interest you

  • You can collaborate easier on content with an easy to use editor...

 

And she said "Show me how easy it is to edit" and I leapt at the chance to enlighten her so I  grabbed my laptop, opened up Clearspace and hit the edit button. (Note: this is not a critique of the known issues with the editor, but of the of the editor's capabilities)

 

Well, needless to say, she was not impressed because "easy" to her means "exactly like what she is used to".  "Easy" to her means "Microsoft Word".

 

Microsoft Word Editor

 

Now, it is important to note that my wife is very adept at technology and is by no means a laggard.  She just expects her editing features to be similar.  The Clearspace editor was not similar enough especially when it came to tables.

 

Clearspace Editor

 

Clearspace Editor (In Safari browser)

 

So I showed her the new Google Docs editor and the Zoho Editor and she felt much more at home.

 

Google Editor - http://docs.google.com

 

Zoho Editor - http://writer.zoho.com/

 

I even showed here the Buzzword editor, but she said it was too diffult although pretty.

 

Buzzword Editor - http://www.buzzword.com/

 

Now, I've come to grips with the fact that I am not your "average user" and now highly value the input of non-technical users.  They often bring stinging clarity to usability issues.  So when I asked her if she would use Clearspace if it was offered to her in a business setting she said she "wouldn't use Clearspace if it was offered to her because of the editor".  The barrier to entry for her was too great.  So I asked her if she felt the same way about the Google Docs and Zoho editors and she replied that those looked "fine" and that she would consider using them.

 

The moral of the story for me was that that Clearspace has a ton of great features and the benefits far outweigh the cons, but the editor needs to be totally revamped.  Take a cue from Google and make a toolbar that looks much more like MS Word. I know that you guys have eliminated a lot of the bugs in the editor in version 2, but I don't think that is gonna cut it for the non-technical users of the world.

 

I've been impressed so far with Jive's ability to accept constructive feedback and turn it into quick action and I'm hoping they can continue that trend here.

Federating Clearspace

Posted by Magpie Feb 28, 2008

I have posted before under the title Clearspace Y, a phase I coined to cover the simultaneous implementation of Clearspace (Internal) and Clearspace X (External). Indeed, I have by-and-large implemented this with our own Clearspace implementation. It consists of two main sub-spaces, one covering the internal community, the other external communities.

 

Clearspace Y is not what Clearspace is designed to do since there are some holes in achieving sufficient separation . A good example of this is people information which is visible across the communities. I've had some success with blogs since the blog access control is orthogonal to the space access control. I really like the aggregation of blogs so that you can collate them for different user groups.

 

The worry of course is publishing something that you don't want to go outside of your Chinese walls - an odd concept for a community I know. However, what's needed is the best of both worlds - privacy and openness. After all even Clearspace has the ability to send private emails and enclosed collaborative workflow approvals.

 

So, should we have one instance of Clearspace Y to service both communities?

 

Or, should we think more in terms of federating two or more Clearspace instances?

 

Perhaps I should declare my own take on what federation means. Federation is where related communities are free to do their own thing but agree on certain commonality for mutual benefit - some content is shared, other content is  not. A common platform architecture and functionality certainly underpins a lot that can be done to share and collaborate.

 

Federation perhaps has these two aspects: platform and content. Either way the aim is to blur the boundaries and share more. I see this scenario as being more likely in smaller organizations than larger ones.

 

In technical circles Federation has some specific meaning which can be similar, but I'm not trying to imply some grand technical solution. Rather I'd first like to explore the notion and validity of how two or more communities at a macro level could benefit from being more closely linked.

 

I can envisage some truly common areas that embrace openness and discovery. One of the most powerful aspects of Clearspace is what I call the churn view or the what's new - be it a blog, discussion or document. It's the froth coming to the top. The heritage from this coming from discussion groups.

 

I also see the need for private areas - be it internal/external partitions or external/external e.g. a customer project space.

 

Returning to the churn, its what gets aggregated into this churn that makes it even more powerful - I will to be seen, if I'm interesting, I'll get popular. We'd need the ability to make content aggregateable ( the want that leads to the will), much like we can do with blogs. However, I would suspect that aggregating whole spaces may be too large grained. 

 

Attractable content also applies to specific shared spaces i.e. two groups want to work jointly on something. I've partly implemented this using sub-spaces, the parent being the common area and the sub-spaces the private aspects. The parent level being the aggregation, if you have access rights to the sub-spaces as well. I'd say for this that space level granularity would probably be OK.

 

Well there's the thought.

 

 

Chaos & Order

Posted by Magpie Feb 26, 2008

For my inaugural blog on Jivespace I've chosen the subject of Chaos & Order - dichotomy which I believe Clearspace has the potential to fulfil.

 

I come from a structured world of comprehensive metamodels and complex information management systems. It may seem strange to embrace the world of unstructured information - the enemy for so long. However, to reject is to deny humanity and miss the potential to foster, harvest, and support knowledge sharing and transfer.

 

<span style="font-weight: bold">I like Clearspace because</span> .... it seeks to embrace having conversations, but with a 21st century twist. By this I mean that few of us have the time luxury of synchronous face-to-face conversations, but we can have asynchronous conversations with like, similar, or dislike minded people anywhere in the world.

 

Buried in theses conversations are treasures. The trick is to foster these conversations and be able to find, collate, and help achieve a better order of things. In business terms this can translate to fixing bugs, getting better features, solving problems, selling more, .... and even enjoying the process! One should never underestimate the power of encouragement, recognition, and support one can get from others.

 

The rise and potential for social software and in particular its use within a business context has been well blogged by the Jive team. In many ways my stress on chaos & order echo this.

 

I look forward to continuing the journey and in particular helping to nudge things along. Thank-you Dawn for making this blog possible.

Since this Blog really has taken shape yet, I guess I get the benefit of setting a possible tone moving forward.  In that regard, I hope this tone is appropriate, but from a platform perspective, I see nothing but possibilities for the Clearspace(X) platform in growing collaboration across disparate teams.

 

In my company, we are currently working to try and create less obscure lines between community initiatives and revenue.  Obviously the immediate first phase for attempts such as this are to try and merge into existing systems, while over time, if the technology is pervasive enough, it can ultimately change the systems to a new paradigm.  Given that we've only recently gone live with CleraspaceX 1.9.0 on OAS10g 10.1.3.3.0, we are unfortunately in the former stages of this process.

 

As such, some ideas that we had to leverage some of ClearspaceX's unique features include the following:

 

 

 

 

  • Leveraging the Listener Framework and Filters to process content at create/edit time against a custom dictionary of terms and matching URL structures...and storing meta-data on the document/thread/blog post for rendering actions to take into consideration when rendering the item for display.  The hopes would be to do one of the following: provide a list of relevant links off to the side of the document that would help drive traffic towards measureable calls to action.  If we were bold enough, we could apply these meta-data instructions as a filter, and alter the appearance of the actual words in the content as hyperlinks.  This might be too intrusive to our customers, and we'll need to evaluate the nice balance between content ownership and ROI. =)

  • Abstracting the Ratings Engine in ClearspaceX as a Ratings Service for all content on the website.  We've been looking at the possibility, of creating a private community visible only to Admins and WebService logins, and then creating Document Stubs into that community and capturing Ratings regarding non-ClearspaceX pages on those assets, and then surfacing the ratings to the remote sites as well through the same Web Service APIs.  Since ClearspaceX is integrated into our SSO solution, we already know that we are talking apples to apples between the 2 systems.  We just need to work out logistics of whether or not a user (who is logged in), has a "username" or as we call it "alias" when they rate...and how to handle the corner-cases that stem from that core issue.

 

Some others ideas that I do not have time to rant on include dynamic forum threads injected via Web Service integration, integration with internal document creation workflows into ClearspaceX, as well as leveraging Web Services to creating micro-communities for bolstering real-time sales opportunities between sales and customer seeking assistance. 

 

Currently, a pet project of mine is to get OpenFire setup and see what ideas come from that....

 

 

I hope this content has spurred some thoughts about how I envisioned ClearspaceX being used (at least from my perspective), but please comment and let us know what interests you.