Socialtext helps enterprise users manage Twitter-like stream

Version 4.0 of enterprise social networking and collaboration suite also offers the ability to create collaborative groups

One year after it added Signals, a Twitter-like microblogging component, to its eponymous enterprise social networking and collaboration suite, Socialtext is giving users features to manage that stream of posts.

Version 4.0 of the Socialtext suite, released on Wednesday, lets users segment the Signals stream by creating channels, find Signals posts using a search engine, and slice their profile activity streams to view posts from specific groups and people.

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"Because of Signals' popularity, activity streams are becoming more voluminous, so we've added activity stream filtering," said Eugene Lee, Socialtext's CEO.

The new search engine is intended to let employees tap into the growing repository of data shared through Signals, especially valuable links to internal and external Web pages, Lee said.

Because Signals is designed exclusively for workplace communications, Socialtext users don't experience the same flood of irrelevant, frivolous posts as people who use Twitter for work, he said. "Signals provides much better value within the enterprise," Lee said.

The new version also gives users the ability to create collaborative groups. Unlike conventional discussion forums, a Socialtext group can have its own home page, populated with its activity notifications from members, its own Signals stream channel and its own workspaces.

Administrators can assign various levels of privacy and access controls to groups, as well as integrate them with the company's enterprise directory.

Socialtext is one of a new breed of business collaboration vendors whose software is referred to generally as Enterprise 2.0. These new collaboration suites adapt Web 2.0 consumer online services, like blogs, wikis, discussion forums, syndication feeds, social networks and microblogging, for a workplace setting. Other players in this space include Jive and NewsGator.

"The theory behind Enterprise 2.0, which is that social software leads to faster adoption and more sharing [among end users], than traditional enteprise applications has really started paying off. The familiarity that enterprise users have in their consumer lives with things like Twitter are really [boosting] Enterprise 2.0," Lee said.

Socialtext has about 6,500 customers, including Symantec, Mayo Clinic, McGraw-Hill, and The Washington Post.

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