The enterprise microblogging service Socialcast is getting some interesting analytical functions. Unlike the data you can get from Bitly (the closest most people get to seeing real analytics on microblogging), Socialcast's new Social Business Intelligence feature is designed to help the mucky-mucks in your company "understand the social dynamics or your organization," not just see traffic patterns.
If your company uses the Socialcast service for more than just occasional hobbyist microblogging--that is, if whoever hooked up your company with Socialcast also set up the important features the service offers, like integration into CRM, wikis, employee blogs, and other internal systems--then there could be a rich stream of social data coming from the product. Socialcast SBI can tap into this data to identify, in broad strokes, three main types of people in your company: the information "brokers," the "connectors," and the "peripheral players." Even "active listening" is tracked, by watching posts that users flag with the "like" button.
The point is to make sure that your company can leverage the tastemakers among their staff--people you can't identify just by looking at an org chart. Another selling point: SBI helps make sure that when a person is about to leave the company, you know what you're losing in terms of social connections that may be important to keeping particular projects running or clients happy. There's an HR department term for this: "knowledge loss mitigation."
SBI also means that someone could be watching what you do on the platform and that this information may play a part in how you are treated by your employer. Yes, it's true: they could end up paying you more if you Twitter or do the equivalent on Socialcast.
Socialcast has both a free and paid service, and SBI is an additional fee on top of that: It's $1,500 a year per seat for the people who get to see the analytics. Socialcast CEO Tim Young thinks that most companies, even those with more than the typical 240 users per installation, will buy one to three seats, so they can learn about their employees' social connections.
The service doesn't yet pick up connections in e-mail (Exchange servers, for example) or from PBX (phone) systems, but those data streams may be added in the future.
So if your company starts using Socialcast, don't dismiss it. Not only is it a useful service (), but participating in it could help your career.