Social tools don’t have to disrupt

This morning my (other) blog emailed me to say that ‘Steve’ had commented on a post puffing a free online service called Manymoon. This sort of thing is understandable but irritating. Before reporting it as spam, I thought I’d better follow the link. It led to details of a free collaboration/project management tool.

After rummaging the company’s self description and, given that I’d never heard of Manymoon before, I searched Twitter for mentions. They started two months ago. I’m guessing this is when the service emerged from private beta.

Concerned about security of the information being exchanged and assuming it was stored in Manymoon’s own (or rented) facilities, I searched Google for ‘manymoon enterprise security’ (without the apostrophes) and scrolled down the results until I saw a name I recognised. I didn’t have to look far. Bill Ives was the second website mentioned. He’s been on my list of ‘credible commentators’ for years. His blog post on Manymoon gives a decent run down of its capabilities.

In a few minutes, I’d learned plenty about Manymoon, something that would have been impossible in the pre-web, pre-social, pre-search days. And I hadn’t disturbed a soul to gather that information. It was all dropped into my lap because of people’s willingness to put information about themselves online and for others to add their own perspective on, and links to, this information.

The next step was to try Manymoon. My reservations centred around two things: 1) It ‘integrates with’ Google Docs and Google Calendar and I wasn’t sure I wanted that, and 2) I wasn’t sure that having ‘yet another place to work’ was such a good idea. I believe that collaborative software that surfaces inside regular workflows, portals and applications is going to win out in the end.

Anyway, here goes. After registering – easy (you have to check your email to complete the process) you can immediately add colleagues. Then you can create a project and add tasks to it. Bearing in mind that this is done through a web browser and to a remote site, it’s mostly rather snappy. Then, if you want to mess with deadlines or add Google documents, you need to give permission for Manymoon to access your calendar and documents. This permission can be revoked at any time.

If you’re using Google stuff, a click on a document or calendar entry takes you straight over to Google. If you’re uploading documents from your own desktop then reading them is a case of re-downloading them and viewing them with your desktop application.

You can read Bill Ives’ (much more) detailed rundown of Manymoon. It’s another potential tool for you to consider.

My purpose in writing this post is more to show how far you can get in learning about stuff using web and social tools and none of it is disruptive to other people.

The idea of social networking and such might be disruptive, but the processes are actually less so. Even had I grabbed Bill Ives on Skype to ask for clarification, it would have taken seconds of his time to respond. And the moments spent responding are far less than the time spent on, say, responding to an email or taking a telephone call.

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