Written by:

Holly Macdonald


March 23, 2011

This is a bit of a boosterish post.  I don’t work for any of these companies, most of my observations comes from twitter interaction or just plain old tweets.  I’m not an investor either. But I do offer advice to organizations that may include them assessing tools like these.

With that disclaimer out of the way, why this post?  

I didn’t really conceive of this post as a “yay isn’t Vancouver great” kind of post.  I don’t actually live there anymore (I live here).  But, I did find it kind of interesting that Vancouver has a number companies making social media type products.  I wonder if there’s something Power of Pull about it?

These two “twitter” services – is that what you would call them? – are interesting specimens.

  • hootsuite – quite a heavy hitter in twitter clients, based inVancouver.  As someone who struggled to like Twitter until I found a twitter client that worked for me, and if you have more than one twitter account (company), it is really helpful to have a piece of middleware that works for you.  Those that love hootsuite, love it and apparently they added a bunch of analytics that were cool recently. 
  • Asteriq does graph visualization for the web, I found it through mentionmap – this product shows a dynamic view of your twitter connections (people and hashtags you have mentioned) – it is fascinating to map your network and I hope to be visiting this again.  I also used it to show an organization I’m helping how a comparable organization is using twitter to make connections and develop relationships with clients/customers.  It was more revealing than a flat “they have more followers than you” and helped to lift the concept of connectedness off the page.  If you’ve spent much time online lately, you’ll know that infographics and visualization of data are hot, hot, hot!

Over in the social intranet space, we’ve got two Vancouver orgs duking it out on a more head-to-head battle:

  • Open Road Media has built themselves a cool product called “Thoughtfarmer” which is a social intranet.  All the greatness of web 2.0 baked right in.  And, it is Microsoft certified, which makes many organizations happy.  Especially since it works with sharepoint and active directory, key things that I know IT folks looks for. 
  • jostle – this is a visual style social intranet which looks more like an organization chart than an information source.  I would guess they are competitors to thoughtfarmer.   It does allow you to include your LinkedIn and twitter feeds (nice) and has a geolocating aspect, which shows which city you’ve logged in from.  They also used some smart language that HR types like “people engagement”… AND you can invite outsiders to be on projects, which as a consultant thrills me.  It says it can link to HRIS systems, which is a good thing.  All in all, a very intriguing option.

I also went googling for e-learning in Vancouver, just for fun and found an organization I hadn’t heard of before:

  • NGrain – these guys make 3D learning simulations, which are just darned cool!

Once again, the potent combo of twitter and google has proven intoxicating!