Microsoft Outlook Social Connector for Facebook – Corporate Friend or Foe

Posted on July 14, 2010 by

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Last month at Realcomm 2010 implications of deploying social networking in the office place was debated with the two sides diametrically opposed.  It was surprising to hear how many senior level conversations are underway to determine social networking’s fate in our industry without fully vetting its role and potential benefits.

To that point, over the past six month a greater number of  Real Estate firms have begun to embrace Facebook pages, albeit,  with the narrow purpose of  getting the marketing word out.  Fortunately the residential community understands the potential value social networking can bring to their business model, while still unsure how to determine its measurable results.

However, the looming spectre of lost productivity from continual personal status updates by employees is viewed as problematic.  Realistically your employees that always produce will continue to do so and use it judicially, whereas those that might abuse the tool will find other ways to be unproductive if social networking tools are blocked.

With the recent release of Microsoft’s Outlook Social Connector for Facebook and Windows Live, not to mention a Linked In connector which was previously available, are we at the point where resistance is futile.  Let’s not forget this is an industry that for the longest time didn’t think having an Internet presence was a business necessity.  As the world moves towards seamless integration of social networking sites into everyday tools, transparency will make it harder for IT to monitor usage.   In many ways it harkens back to the Wild, Wild, West days of early Web surfing and Instant Messenger before network monitoring caught up.  Until those tools become mainstream a few quick observations of how to try  and stay one step ahead and maintain some semblance of control over usage…

If you are installing Outlook 2010 from an image or have Server side Group Policies (GPO) in place,  block the add-in which will make the individual Provider Connector inoperable.  Conversely if the Outlook Social Connector add-in was deselected during the installation of Outlook 2010 you can add back the Social Connector using the following steps.  I’ve listed these steps more to provide insight about other ways to block their use if necessary.

  • Open the Windows Control Panel, then click Program and Features.
  • In the Program and Features dialog box, select Microsoft Office 2010 and then click Change.
  • In the Microsoft Office 2010 setup dialog select Add or Remove Features and then click Continue.
  • In the Installation Options dialog, click Microsoft Outlook, click Outlook Add-Ins, and then click Outlook Social Connector.
  • Select Run from My Computer, and then click Continue.
  • Finish the Microsoft Office 2010 configuration process and restart Outlook
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