One of our IT guys here at IT Business Edge is a Facebook friend of mine. Usually he is surprisingly restrained in posting techie stuff. He shares the occasional link to support calls gone wrong, which I find hilarious if the user is someone more clueless than me. (An iffy proposition.) But I still recall when he posted his first impressions of Windows 7 shortly after it became available for geeks to kick its tires. I don't remember his initial comment, but it triggered a long and increasingly incomprehensible -- to me -- string of tech jargon.
At one point, another of his friends betrayed his lack of tech chops by posting, "I like toast." This made me think two things: 1) Ah, a fellow non-geek. 2) I sure could go for some toast right now, with cinnamon and butter.
As far as I'm concerned, it also helps illustrate the need for 48Upper, a new social network rolled out by HP. The company describes it as "the first Social Collaborative IT Management solution to fully embrace social networking and the power of the community directly within the processes that run IT." (That sounds like a marketer and not an IT person wrote it, if you ask me.)
According to a Computerworld article, the Web-based service will offer some controls to help IT pros control who can view the information. While it sounds a bit like the online communities geared toward technology professionals offered by Microsoft and SAP, the information shared on 48Upper apparently won't be limited to HP products. Another difference: Users can also leverage HP's business management systems to, for instance, transmit alerts. 48Upper will go into beta soon, according to the article.
Based on a "manifesto" found on the 48Upper website, I get the sense the network hopes to counteract a common stereotype about IT pros, that they are antisocial loners who care more about technology than anything else, and think nothing of thwarting business users at every turn. (As with other stereotypes, there may be some truth to some of the common ones about IT.) From the manifesto:
Our ultimate goal is customer service, and if we have to think outside the box (or sometimes outside the box of our rigid tools and policies), we are willing to do what is necessary to get the job done right.
In looking for a site that seems similar to 48Upper in its stated objective, I found Sermo, which describes itself as the "largest online physician community in the US. It's where practicing U.S. physicians -- spanning 68 specialties and all 50 states -- collaborate on difficult cases and exchange observations about drugs, devices and clinical issues." I wrote about Sermo in 2007 and it seems to be going strong two-and-a-half years later with 115,000 members.