Microsoft’s Social Media Connector: Use Outlook Dashboard

There are two programs that many business owners always have open – Microsoft Outlook (or some other email program), Intuit’s QuickBooks and a web browser with a myriad of open tabs.
One of the most popular genre of tools is of course social media tools for Facebook and Twitter. Many of you use tools such as TweatDeck, Gist and other tools to manage our social communication experience.
What’s neat about Microsoft Outlook is that there are hundreds (my guess) of add-ons available to enable third-party programs to better integrate with it. There are already third party applications that help you bring external information into Outlook.
Microsoft’s Social Connector, newly launched in November has been updated to integrated Facebook and Myspace.

Crains New York writes Microsoft Corp. is taking another step toward turning Outlook, its desktop e-mail program, into a hub for information from popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Microsoft’s “beta” test version of the Outlook Social Connector, an add-on for Outlook, was first discussed last November. When a user clicks to read an e-mail message, a new pane on the main e-mail reading screen fills with the sender’s most recent social-networking activities. That could be that sender’s new Facebook status update or a newly added professional contact on the business networking site LinkedIn.

More about Microsoft’s Social Connector, from Microsoft’s web site:

  • Communication history Your mailbox is searched and the recent messages you’ve exchanged with that person appear. Can’t remember the last time you e-mailed this person? A quick look at the OSC reveals the last time you received an email from them, and one click opens up the message.
  • Meetings When is the next scheduled meeting with this person? The OSC shows upcoming appointments that include you and the message sender.
  • Attachments Can’t find the attachment that the person is referring to in a message? With the OSC you can quickly review attachments that you and the sender have exchanged. One-click access quickly opens the attachment or you can see the message that it is attached to.
  • Activity feeds Stay on top of activities involving your colleagues and friends in real time. The OSC connects to business and consumer social networks.
  • Did you say activity feeds? Yes we did! The OSC makes Outlook 2010 a social networking tool by connecting to the new social experiences in SharePoint 2010. That connection allows the OSC to download activity feeds for colleagues and display them inside the new People Pane: