Arno Nell (@arnonel) has been working hard for over 18 months to come up with SPoint.me which is a new social networking site just for the SharePoint community. He announced it here on SharePointMagazine.net which he also founded. Yes, the community already has:
So why does the community need another site? Well I think where this one fits is that this is a "Social Networking" site. It allows people to register, which immediately indicates that they have some involvement in SharePoint. You can connect with them, much like you can currently in Facebook and LinkedIn.
The profiles are a great way to find out about people, although I found the "Area of interest" and "professional interests" radio boxes very limiting. Also country and city being free text extremely limiting. That's going to be absolutely useless to find people near by L Would have been great to get a bit smarter with that to find local people. Also the ability to provide links to Users blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, LinkedIN accounts etc.
They can immediately hook up their twitter and you then discover new people to follow. Admittedly you can do this via MrTweet or wefollow.com.
There are also plenty of groups in LinkedIN and Facebook already that have some great content, it will be interesting to see how these go. The advantage of posting them here is that the context is all SharePoint, and adding content will target SharePoint users. The benefits of posting groups on LinkedIN and Facebook is that discoverability goes outside the walls of SPoint.com to a much larger user base.
I think this is the most compelling feature that hasn't been attacked properly by the SharePoint community just yet and can see this being very valuable. Although it really needs an overall calendar as well as Group calendars and maybe some iCal support so it can be put into Outlook/Google Calendar etc.
SPoint.me is also offering a free blogging platform, SharePointBlogs.com (which is now hosted by VSPUG.com…which is using the same platform as this from what I can see) has been around for a long time and hosted 100's of SharePoint community blogs.
Although I have found that lots of authors have used this as a test bed and hosted here then moved to a more sophisticated blog engine controlled and hosted by themselves over time. It's a great way to get into the blogging game and also to get noticed in the community.
We've already seen SharePointOverflow.com become extremely successful as a place to get answers quickly along with amazing content and moderators at MSDN Forums. I'm not sure we need another place to create forums, as discussed in my article last week on SPDevWiki, I think most strong contributors need a sense of being awarded and SPoint.me doesn't do this like MSDN Forums and SharePointOverflow.com.
Again, most people are on Twitter or have e-mail so I'm not sure a messaging feature in this will work. Especially with no rich client or phone integration. But be interesting to see, maybe just for initial introductions then moving off to other platforms.
I've been using Diigo for over 2 years now, and most use Delicious.com for their social bookmarks. There is no easy tool to add new links to SPoint.me so I can't see this one taking off over more mature platforms. For example, if 100 users add a link each, you'll get lots of duplication and it's not going to handle it like social bookmarking sites do and it'll just become noise. It's very similar to how SharePointPedia.com was set up and that failed because the platform was sophisticated enough to handle this.
It's a PHP platform and with SP2010 just around the corner it's a shame this wasn't used. Admittedly I chose Confluence over SharePoint for wikis 14 months ago for SharePointDevWiki.com, but the wiki platform wasn't ready then. SP2010 has activities, tags, links, discussion forums (albeit weak), blogs, news, calendars (with outlook support) and groups could be a site template.
If enough people adopt this platform and especially high profile SharePoint Community people, then this could be a great success. Arno needs to find some people who have the time to rally up content and keep frequently posting. He did a great job with SharePointMagazine.net so I'm sure this will be a success!
Personally for now I'll keep my blog on my own hosted server on WSS3.0 and upgrade to SPF2010, Diigo for social bookmarking and continue to support the core MSDN Forums and SharePointOverflow.com. I'll maintain the SPoint.me SharePoint 2010 Development Group the best I can as a start primarily with crossover content from SharePointDevWiki.com.