Social networking and unified communications (UC) are very complementary, in the sense that they both seek to enhance productivity and collaboration within and between enterprises. Social networking provides a good deal of non-real-time functional capabilities through tools like wikis, blogs, workspaces, social graphs, microblogging and other attributes. Unified communications can add real-time functions to social computing, allowing for more efficient and immediate communications to take place.
For example, say you're searching through a wiki on your company's social computing platform and you have a question about a response provided by one of your colleagues. By adding him to your buddy list, you can get real-time status of his availability. By adding click-to-call capability, you can reach out to him in real time, regardless of what device he is using, and communicate immediately to resolve your question -- and you can do all this without leaving your wiki page or social computing application. The analogy would be communicating from within a Salesforce.com application. Generally, embedding UC attributes into social networks speeds up communication, adds additional communication channels and enhances collaboration capabilities.
This was first published in April 2010