I have to admit that I was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of social networking. I was not looking for more stuff to do during the day, I really needed less. Moreover, the value of social networking was suspect to me.
However, today I'm among the converted. I Twitter, I LinkedIn, and I Plaxo, daily, and of course they are all linked together as well as with my blogs and podcasts. I'm one socially linked-up dude, for a geek.
Lately I've been mixing SOA with social networking within a few engagements, and I have to tell you that the value is clearly there. Thus, you can take the API from one social network, and perhaps a few others, and blend the information extracted with corporate information, such as sales data, to spot trends in what's being Twittered and what's being sold. Believe me, the links are there. In essence, you mix and match the data services (enterprise and social network) to create a business intelligence layer built upon services.
There are a ton of applications for enterprise SOA with social networking systems such as promoting upcoming events, selling products, or recruiting employees. Or, perhaps providing customer support and relationship management through a social network. It's all being done and it's a great bang for the buck.
[ InfoWorld's Gripe Line blog reveals how companies such as Hewlett-Packard and JetBlue are using social media to communicate with customers ]
However, those mixing their SOA with social networking APIs are younger, smaller, and thus more innovative companies. I've yet to see huge adoption from the larger players out there, with a few exceptions.
There is a clear opportunity to make your SOA even that much more valuable just by using the service management, abstraction, and monitoring capabilities to make your enterprise services talk to Facebook. You'll be very surprised at the results. Make sure to Twitter them to me.