• 11/07/2012
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Skype In The Workspace: 3 Key Facts

Microsoft's popular Skype videoconferencing service officially goes social with a professional network for SMBs. Here's what you need to know.

3. It Could Be More Social Than Your Social Networks.

Because Skype in the Workspace overlays the platform's various communications services, it might actually make you more social -- even if you won't see the word "social" in Skype's marketing copy. That's because opportunities can lead not just to connections with legions of relatively anonymous Internet users but directly to conversations with actual people.

LinkedIn, for one, has taken steps in that direction by making phone numbers more apparent in its recent revamp. But Skype provides the actual phone or videoconference line, too.

"Making that easy connection and then connecting on Skype and taking the conversation from there seems to be very powerful," Cebeci said. "That's what we heard from the beta customers as well."

Social SMBs should find other elements of Skype's new service familiar, too. Users can offer testimonials about a business and its opportunities or other services, for example -- similar to how LinkedIn users can endorse each others' skills. Opportunities can be "favorite-d," as with favorite tweets or Facebook Likes. Then there's the simple fact that compelling opportunities will create connections -- by any name, they remain the core currency of social networks.

And there's the most obvious social element: Links with other well-known networks. At launch, Skype in the Workplace includes integrations with LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. When you create an opportunity, you can simultaneously promote it across those networks. Facebook is conspicuously absent from Skype in the Workspace, although it could be added later. For now, the omission is by design.

"Given the professional nature of this, LinkedIn and Twitter seemed to be the most appropriate," Cebeci said.

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