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Perhaps the most exciting changes in SharePoint 2013 relate to enhanced social capabilities. The list of new features is extensive - micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, following, likes and reputations are the ones that standout the most.

With the new Activity Feeds, I really like the idea that I can get real notifications of what's happening on a site. I really like ‘Following’ function, which adds the ability to "follow" people, sites, documents and topics, with subsequent actions of the followed entity appearing in the user's activity stream. Keeping up to date with the activities of colleagues in SharePoint has never been easier and I can see it really improving employee productivity and collaboration.

I think the new community features will be interesting, with Microsoft’s new site templates I can see an increase in micro-blogging happening within SharePoint; I'm certainly excited to see how our internal communities use them. Find out more about what is new in social computing in SharePoint 2013 on the Microsoft blog.

More collaboration and social integration features that are definitely worth mentioning are:

Communities – ‘Communities’ is a new subsite template that can be used and is based on the wiki pages infrastructure. It leverages discussion groups, likes, ratings.

Categories Categories can be configured per community to allow people to see discussions being had with much more granularity.

Reputation Reputation has been introduced to allow you to rate users within the community from 1 to 5 stars. This is different from 2010 where now the rating is actually stored in the subsite data rather than the social databases in the service application.

Community Badges – Badges are new to 2013. Essentially rules can be set when particular levels are reached in the community as seen from the screen shot below.

As an aside, it is worth noting that the social tools market is hot and feature advances are coming fast and furious. In this environment I do worry that Microsoft's three year product release cycle seems like an anachronism, leaving it constantly lagging behind its competitors.

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 6:58 AM | Back to top

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