Coresoft customers have mixed results with the use of Website Forum in recent years, and the role of Forum software along side Blogs, Linked in, Facebook and Private (member only) social networks and/or groups has been redefined.
Forums have always been a worthwhile tool to enlist collaboration between members with similar interests. Organisations have struggled with the supervision of those discussions, mediating feedback and comments and controlling scope of discussion so as not to reflect on their organisation.
Forums often attract a certain type of participant which might be willing to invest the time to participate, but these participants may not always carry the bulk of member opinion, so they are not always an accurate reflection of member opinion.
Linked in Facebook Blogging
In more recent years many Member based organisations have found Linked in, and Google Groups an effective tool for enlisting member to member collaboration, but the time required to supervise these groups is not insignificant.
Further the role of Blogs as an information sharing mechanism has exploded, with more and more organisations using Blog to promote ideas and News as it comes to hand. Clearly a blog is a better way to share these information snippets as hey are easy to create and publish, and don’t need to same effort and process they would normally be required for a web new page to be published on the corporate website.
Private Social Networks
The newest entrant to this expanding array of collaboration tools is software that replicate Social Networking functionality of the big players like Facebook/Linked in/Google in a private network exclusive to members of the organisation. Products such as Higher Logic, Dolphine offer a paid services with great features, while ELGG, Buddypress are free/open source equivalents with varying degrees of functionality.
The advantages with a private network stem from the way they enlist people to collaborate in small groups, mentoring or assisting each other. The Private network is easier to mediate content posted by members because must login and identify themselves, and as a result are help accountable for what they say. The results are encouraging s it seems that members are less inclined to make unqualified comments in front of their piers.
Private networks can include functionality similar to Facebook, Linked in, and will provide members with their own personal “blog space”, ability to upload/download files and share resources, so they are gaining popularity quickly.
Private social networking systems need direct integration to your Member Administration system to be effective, and Coresoft applications are providing direct integration through the Coresoft API.
The role of the Forum would appear to of been eroded as more and more on line tools have replaced it as an information sharing tool, but the forum is still an excellent tool, and a great place to debate issues and develop ideas. Perhaps the roles it once provided have been replaced with better tools, but the forum itself still has a purpose in a modern business communications, that is best understood once the organisation has implemented the more popular tools Public and Private Social networking facilities.