Dreamforce 2011: social then social now
Social continued to be emphasized throw-out Dreamforce 11. Chatter is not really new (it was first announced 2 years ago) though. In previous years while SF was already pushing this idea, I was struggling with finding practical ways for our implementations with nonprofit organizations.
This year, I saw and heard more examples of how organizations are using Chatter.
Chatter Groups. Create ad hoc groups for staff to exchange ideas on a given topic. Example: Create a group for Annual Event 2012. Here is a tool for staff to start and structure conversation. You can use #keyword and @ signs. This is a replacement the long threads of emails.
Files. You can post files in chatter feed. Other staff can comment on it. This could be a replacement of the network drive.
Company directory with the chatter profile.
I found more info here: http://www.salesforce.com/chatterguide/
Chatter can help Salesforce Adoption
You can use Chatter only. Salesforce user interface is not particularly sexy. Since people are naturally attracted and very familiar with the status update, like button, follow concepts, this is a good way to get people involved in SF. In other word, first have your staff set up profiles, use groups and once they are familiar to login to SF for that, then introduce them to Salesforce contacts, organizations,….
More to come in Winter 12
Some more features are coming this October which should also help make chatter more useful:
Instant Messaging: you will see what other users are currently logging to SF and will be able to start chatting with them (very similar to the chat feature in Facebook).
Screen share. Start sharing your screen with other users right in SF.
Invite contacts to Chatter groups. Bring external contacts to a chatter conversation/group.