I have been noticing that Facebook, the social network that I have been using most, seems to be getting a little ‘tired’, there are some missing friends, some communities are slowing down, and even some of the social apps I like to use such as Blogfriends are packing up. I guess it’s a mix of too many social networks, fashion change, or maybe a move towards using smaller better focused networks through using Ning.
All of this makes the introduction of the Yahoo! Open Strategy, apparently called Y!OS, for short, all the more welcome. This is apparently the ‘big bet’ for Yahoo, and follows some soul searching by Jerry Yang, their CEO, that he outlined in his Blog in October 2007. Y!OS is described as a major rewiring of Yahoo to create ‘a single social connective tissue’, I would describe it more as a single set of my social services that I can use in any social networking site. Now that gives me total portability to select what ever social network I want, or even to be in multiple social networks.

The best explanation of this comes from a Blog on the Yahoo developer network so I will not duplicate the explanation here; instead I want to consider this in terms of the capabilities. Interestingly these same capabilities are exactly what are required inside the enterprise, as well, and this leads to the question as to whether the enterprise will move fast enough to provision these for their users, or whether users will quickly recognise the value of Y!OS and create their own user centric version.
Does this matter? I am seriously asking this question these days, especially as I am finding more enterprises running selected activities ‘externally’ by choice. As an example we at Capgemini use Facebook for onboarding graduates, the external, and personal, nature is ideal for finding and getting Capgemini mentors that are aligned to the personalities of the graduates to help their transition into a work environment. Would this work as well internally? Well, it could in a ‘technical’ sense meaning both technically and in terms of the requirements, but I think it would defeat the objective, which is to provide a distinctly personal environment around individuals.
So though my first automatic reaction was to say how wonderful, but that we need to set up a safe internal version of Y!OS, or at least something similar, but the more I reflect on what people need to have in some aspects of the employee / employer relationship the more I believe we need to consider a ‘shared’ model with the employee holding this personalised information externally under their ownership and we need to provide the internal social network for them to bring some of this too.
It’s time to really start to think differently about these issues, and accept that there has been a ‘sea change’ in the way of the world in most countries.