Imagine how you would feel if your not-so-trendy dad borrowed your ‘cool clothes’ and went to a Justin Bieber concert?
You may feel as disturbed as I felt when I learnt Microsoft, the granddad of software houses, is getting in to Social Media by creating an addition to Outlook.
While thinking of Microsoft still trying to hold on to their youth, words such as ‘bandwagon’, ‘cromo’ and ‘opportunitism’ drifted into my head.
But despite my IT Cultural Cringe, I downloaded Microsoft’s new Outlook Social Connector and installed it.
So now, with my Outlook all juiced up with the ability to connect socially (what it had been otherwise doing all these years, i don’t know), I downloaded the first only available Outlook Social Connector Plug-in – The LinkedIn Social Connector.
I consider LinkedIn as a good choice for Microsoft; it has the right balance of business lingo and confusion on how to use the product that makes Microsoft feel right at home. This makes it good sandpit for Microsoft to safely dabble its toes in the choppy and unpredictable waters of social media.
Starting Outlook after adding the LinkedIn Social Connector was not a pleasant experience; the effect it has on Outlook is garish.
For example: I open one email with 8 people CC’d in it and you get a grid of FACE CLOSEUPS of your business acquaintances from your LinkedIn network. I ended up un-ticking the face-grid-display feature.
It does have something I like about it: It creates a live contact list within Outlook of everyone I have in my LinkedIn network, which stays up to date as people change their details. This business feature alone is quite redeeming.
There was one more nice surprise too, if I want to add a new person to my LinkedIn network, I can click a little ‘add’ button beside their name in my Outlook.
Considering the above, LinkedIn, with one ugly feature turned off and two redeeming features enabled, is still in use in my Outlook.
So Microsoft, who else are you going to invite to your party? Bebo? ‘Cause that’s real hip with the kids these days.