Why I Hate SharePoint - Part 5

Tom RobbinsWed, 05/30/2018 - 16:46

Why I Hate SharePoint

We Heard SharePoint is Like Facebook and We Don’t Want Social Media

Blog Part 5 of 10


SharePoint is most definitely NOT Facebook.  It does, however, have some features that are found on any social media platform.  SharePoint has features which streamline communication and collaboration and make teams more effective and productive.  How SharePoint is governed is important because any communication platform can get out of hand if there are no policies and procedures in place.

Facebook LogoSo, let’s start by understanding what Facebook is.  Facebook is a social technology which allows people to build networks of friends and engage with those friends through sharing of thoughts and content.  You can post ideas or editorials and people can engage with you through responses using “likes” or “comments”.  This can go on endlessly, and often seems to.  The content shared on Facebook is typically of a personal or trivial nature and oftentimes can be just opinions with no factual basis.  And whether people like it or not, Facebook was reported in Q4 of 2017 to have 2.2 billion active users.  This certainly bears at least a look at what’s happening online!

Now, what is SharePoint?  SharePoint is an enterprise platform of technologies that allows people in a company to build teams of colleagues to engage with them by sharing thoughts and content.  Sounds a lot like Facebook!  Teams can utilize SharePoint features to discuss and manage projects as well as better facilitate communication within departments.  SharePoint is like Facebook in that it provides a web-based portal to engage with teams.  But SharePoint obviously has many features beyond Facebook.  Features like: document management, workflow, business intelligence capabilities, task management, wiki knowledge bases, and employee profiles.

SharePoint is an enterprise platform of technologies that allows people in a company to build teams of colleagues to engage with them by sharing thoughts and content.  Sounds a lot like Facebook!

Facebook could easily accomplish many of the same engagement functions as SharePoint while being deficient in document management functions provided in SharePoint.  The significant difference between Facebook and SharePoint, besides the obvious, is in how they are used.  We use Facebook in the public internet world to share personal, non-work-related content.  Whereas SharePoint is used in a business context where we should avoid personal discussions.  No need for sharing wedding photos in the context of SharePoint, because they are not work related.  The type of content that is permitted in SharePoint is usually detailed in organizations “Acceptable Use of Internet/Social Media Policy” and these policies have been around as long as email has been around.  Nothing has changed.  What you shouldn’t do in email, you shouldn’t engage in within SharePoint.

I would be missing a crucial point if I didn’t discuss the value of social platforms.  Again, whether we like it or not, the new social media technologies are quickly replacing our legacy systems like email/Outlook.  Having a central place to store artifacts and engage in discussions around these artifacts or simply just share ideas and problem-solving is proving to generate significant improvement in team efficiency and productivity.

One can simply do an online search to find some of the many benefits of “Enterprise Social”.  Some of them I list here:

  1. Conversations Make Connections
    1. Think about this one.  Just as you make new friends at a party because you’re all together in the same place mingling, you’ll make connections with colleagues using SharePoint.
    2. You might be in a Discussion Board on a SharePoint Group and find someone discussing a problem that you also have.  You’ll connect with that person and solve your problem.
  2. People Are Always Available
    1. SharePoint is web-based and with the integration of Teams and mobile apps, you can always reach your colleagues anytime, anywhere.
  3. Context Enriches Interactions
    1. Knowing the whole story helps you have more educated and informed conversations.

So, while SharePoint has many similar features as Facebook, or any other successful social platform, it is specifically designed for implementation in the enterprise so it includes many enterprise-specific applications.  For some it will be hard to make the jump to the social experience, but you only need show one of the many ways it makes interactions more productive to get people on board.