On my tumblr blog I posted about email being sucked into an activity stream (dashboard), and the owner being able to make it public, or replying to the email from within the stream, etc… The idea being that email, is just like flickr, youtube, delicious…it’s just yet another source…but it’s different in that people only see it, if you click a button to make it public.
I suggest you read the tumblr post to get up to speed.
Imagine an enterprise version of friendfeed as your social network/microblogging/activity stream eg. Socialcast
Firstly, let’s get this out of the way…when having a discussion, and you need to write an extended reply, you don’t need to use email as the enterprise activity stream allows more than 140 characters…which is good as this doesn’t split up the conversation.
Now imagine if an enterprise activity stream allowed you to follow your email client (of course no-one else could do this for privacy reasons).
Wow, bye bye email inbox, as the enterprise activity stream is the new inbox.
From within enterprise activity stream you could reply to this email which would send an Outook email, or if the receiver is on enterprise activity stream you could reply with a comment…look at that a conversation thread where each element may have happened on different products.
At any point you can cherry pick one of your emails that you see in your enterprise activity stream and make it public in your profile stream. People following you will now see the Outlook email title and click it to read it.
You could also do this at the time of sending your email from Outlook ie. when you send your email to someone it will also appear in your enterprise activity stream profile.
Same when replying to an Outlook email from the enterprise activity stream ie. when in the enterprise activity stream you send a reply to Outlook and it can also be made public in the activity stream
Hmm, not sure if you could send an Outlook email (not a reply, but a new email) from within the enterprise activity stream…that would be like sending a tweet from Friendfeed…not a reply tweet, but an initial tweet..or a direct message, etc…
Now imagine this…
You are using your enterprise microblogging/activity stream to do a task with co-workers.
If you need to liase with someone in your company who is not on the task, you can still use the enterprise activity stream
eg. in the comment of the task post you could @reply to this person on the edge of the task, and they can comment back.
This way your co-workers know what is happening on your leg of the task ie. you don’t have to tell them (report back to base), or narrate your work…in this instance, there is no such thing as an “update”, as they “observing” you work in the open.
Now this ain’t gonna work if the person on the edge of the task is an external party eg a vendor, supplier, client.
But what if you were in Outlook and sent the supplier an email and also chose for it to post in the enterprise activity stream as well….or perhaps you are in the enterprise activity stream and choose to create an email which becomes a post as well (or create an email which becomes a comment within a post)…this is sending the Outlook email from within the microblogging app itself so it instantly becomes a post or a comment.
Voila, your co-workers know exactly what stage you are at. They don’t have to ask you how you are going with the supplier, they already know, as you cross-posted the email you sent the supplier as a comment under the task post in the stream…this didn’t have to happen after the fact, this cross-posting can happen at the time you are sending the email (keeping in mind the email can be sent from Outlook or from within the stream).
Now when the supplier replies to your email you will see that in Outlook or your enterprise activity stream, depending where you are at the time…we hope that our head is no longer in Outlook as the enterprise activity stream is the new inbox/dashboard.
If you are in enterprise activity stream at that time, you can click a button to make it (the email reply from the sender) public so it appears as a comment.
If you are in Outlook at the time, you somehow have to also be able to make it send as a comment to your activity stream…I haven’t thought this through technically or how user-centric it is (ie. you don’t have to think). Making an email cross-post to the stream as a post is easy enough, but to cross-post it as a comment within a post means you need to email it to the post email address (or something like that), which sucks as it means you have to hunt around for this emailID, which is not smooth and user-centric…it would be a hassle…drag and drop would be nice