I am guilty of sending internal group emails with questions like- "has anyone worked on something like this", "can you point me to a proposal that addresses this need that we have delivered on", "what are your thoughts on this article, "who would like to blog a post responding to this", "why do you all always ignore me" (ok they don't ignore me all the time but enough of the time that makes me paranoid...). I have tried to setup up groups on our internal Instant Messanger but the group features are weak, the team is globally dispersed so not on line at the same time, and some people just never log on and messages are not delivered when people are offline and come back on. I am sure my experiences are not unique.
I have however created a 'backchannel' with key folks that i work with on Twitter- the noise there is different i guess and using Direct Messaging bypasses the hundreds of other emails that person may get (especially if they use a Twitter client to alert them of DMs). As i get more followers and i follow more people however i have a hard time listening on on that backchannel (i keep hearing that Groups are coming to Twitter- when??)
Twitter like services- which allows users to broadcast short messages (usually 140 characters) have been coming up during client conversations- from using it internally or externally to communicate; to obviously monitoring what is being said about them- and how they should respond. I don't think Enterprises can hide much longer behind the ignorance curtain- it is becoming a new way to deliver information- one that is inherently powerful in the Enterprise space because it's main purpose is response and discussion- not only push.
Today this article on ReadWriteWeb about Best Buy buying an Enteprise Twitter application from Headmix caught my attention (although i don't read a "license to try pilots" as an full sale in the Enterprise but certainly understand that is a great foot in the door for them). Lucky for the Best Buy team- their project does not seem to be tied to regular metrics and goals since he comments "People have stopped asking us about metrics, measurement and goals. They see that it’s a cost of doing business. Nobody questions whether you need to have phones anymore, its assumed."
Just last month Jeremiah Owyang, who is always ahead of the game, posted an overview of Enterprise Microblogging Tools or what he called "Twitter for the Intranet"- (i get the 'intranet' label but i would argue that the power of a microblogging tool is that it is device independent- it should not matter if i am using a browser, a phone (regardless of what type/platform), or another web enabled device). If you are looking for potential tools to use 'behind your firewall' you should take a look.
Of the Videos that have on the HeadMix site- this ones addresses specifically why Best Buy is interested in this distributed messaging microblogging platform:
Making The Sale from Arik Jones on Vimeo.