ThoughtFarmer vs. SLATES: Are we Enterprise 2.0-compliant?


In his seminal article on Enterprise 2.0, professor Andrew McAfee lays out the six components of next-generation enterprise collaboration platforms:

S – Search
L – Links
A – Authoring
T – Tags
E – Extensions
S – Signals

How does ThoughtFarmer stack up?


“Users are increasingly bypassing [navigation] in favor of keyword searches.”

ThoughtFarmer has a fast, accurate, configurable search engine.

Search in ThoughtFarmer


“Links are an excellent guide to what’s important… Many people have to be given the ability to build links.”

All ThoughtFarmer users can easily embed links in text, or even create directories of links.

Easily create links


“When authoring tools are deployed… the intranet shifts from being the creation of a few to being the constantly updated, interlinked work of many.”

All ThoughtFarmer users can create and edit content with a few clicks.

Authorship - Create and edit content in a few clicks


“[Folksonomies] reflect the information structures and relationships that people actually use, instead of the ones that were planned for them in advance.”

All ThoughtFarmer users can apply tags to pages and documents.

Tags - Apply tags to pages and documents


“Moderately ‘smart’ computers take tagging one step further by automating some of the work of categorization and pattern matching.”

ThoughtFarmer tagging enables faceted browsing — quickly mine through lists of thousands of pages by progressively applying tags.

Extensions - ThoughtFarmer tags enabled faceted browse


“The final element of the SLATES infrastructure is technology to signal users when new content of interest appears.”

ThoughtFarmer alerts you to new content via RSS or email notifications.

Signals: RSS and Email notifications

ThoughtFarmer is 100% SLATES-compliant.

But is it FLATNESSES-compliant? I’ll address this in a future blog post.


Join The Discussion

  1. Jed

    Nice posting – good conclusions 🙂

    How about ThoughtFarmer in the wider world of social networking – any thoughts on adding OpenSocial interoperability ?

  2. Chris

    Jed, we’ll be listening closely to our current and potential customers with regards to OpenSocial. The common APIs make great sense for cloud-based social software. For wiki intranets behind the firewall — our specialty — there are security concerns.

    Despite security issues, I can see huge value here. Imagine importing the LinkedIn contacts, via OpenSocial, of each ThoughtFarmer user. And then exposing those contacts to coworkers in a secure, trusted environment. Or even just pointing out shared connections of you and your coworkers. If business is all about who you know, these kinds of features could add significant value to a company’s ThoughtFarmer installation.

  3. Darren

    I’ve been watching OpenSocial with interest to see how we could potentially integrate it with ThoughtFarmer. Unfortunately, at this point, the APIs seem more about writing cross-platform relationship aware applications, rather than a true open API that would facilitate some of the functionality that Chris outlines above.

    Tim O’Reilly has a good blog post on this topic that I feel is spot-on. When OpenSocial supports social data mashups, then I think we’ll see some real opportunities for integration.

  4. Susan Scrupski

    Hi Chris. I don’t have McAfee’s paper handy, but I think “extensions” is about making intelligent content suggestions based on info you’ve searched on or tagged possibly, similar to the Amazon recommendation system. Does ThoughtFarmer have this type of built-in capability? This one is a little tricky, and I’m not sure all e2.0 products can claim it, frankly.

    Hey, I came here by way of the ThoughtFarmer page on Facebook. So, it’s working! 🙂

  5. Chris

    Susan, I guess my working definition of Extensions is, “take the metadata and do something smart with it.” ThoughtFarmer does — it makes it easy for you to find content related by tag, date, author or type. It also takes user ratings and favourites into consideration when delivering search results.

    But ThoughtFarmer does not make personalized recommendations based on user behavior. Although that capability sounds cool, I don’t believe a typical Enterprise 2.0 system, with, say, 2000 users can generate sufficient metadata to extract consistent behavior patterns. McAfee’s two examples are StumbleUpon and Amazon — both systems with millions of users.

    McAfee elaborates on extensions in this blog post:

    “Most Web 2.0 platforms also include both tags and extensions, which are pointers to other content of interest. Extensions can be automatic (as with Flickr clusters) or human-based. Usernames are a simple example of human-based extensions; if I see that mikestopforth and I have bookmarked a lot of the same Web pages using, I’m interested to see what other sites he’s come across. lets me peruse his collection (it also lets him keep some or all of it private.).”

    By this definition, ThoughtFarmer has extensions.

Comments are closed.