In a previous blog post, I provided a pretty high level overview of using the new MySites social feature in SharePoint 2013 and illustrated how following sites and documents can help you work faster. In this post, I’m going to dig a little deeper into these social features of SharePoint 2013, specifically the Newsfeed. After creating your new MySite in SharePoint 2013, you’ll be able to access your own Newsfeed.
Many people may initially dismiss the Newsfeed as a Facebook-clone. Well, it kind of is… I mean, at least it could be if people posted their political views and endless pictures of their culinary skills while trying to get you to join the latest mind-numbing game available. Hopefully, your co-workers won’t flood your Newsfeed with personal information…
Once you realize how this SharePoint social feature can benefit you, you’ll quickly understand how SharePoint’s Newsfeed has the potential of being a wonderful business tool that can quickly inform you of important changes to your co-workers, your team or department, and your enterprise.
Similar to other social medias, your SharePoint Newsfeed displays the information you have chosen to follow. Because you can follow different types of items in SharePoint, it may be slightly difficult at first determining how following an item affects your Newsfeed. So, what can we follow on our Newsfeed and what happens when we do?
Following People on your SharePoint Newsfeed
To follow someone, navigate to your Newsfeed. On the right hand side, click the number in the people category. The first time you do this, the number will obviously be zero.
Now click the follow link.
Now, just start typing their name and select the person you want to follow from the list.
That’s it. Thankfully, when you follow someone you don’t get flooded with all of that person’s activities. Basically, following someone allows you to see when they post a message to everyone in their Newsfeed. I use everyone as a technical term. When you post a message on your Newsfeed, you have the option to select everyone or a specific SharePoint Site you’re following.
So keep this in mind: When posting to your Newsfeed, “everyone” does not mean everyone in SharePoint, it means everyone who is following you. So, if someone I’m following posts a message to everyone, I can go to my Newsfeed and see the post and have the ability to reply.
Yes, I know. It’s not all that fancy. Following people is just like Facebook. So, what else can I follow?
Following Sites on your SharePoint Newsfeed
Following sites is really easy. Basically, navigate to the SharePoint site and click the Follow button. This is usually located in the top-right corner of your screen (just under Newsfeed link).
Similar to following people, following a site does not bombard you with every change made to the site. It just allows you to see that site’s Newsfeed. So when a post is made on the site’s Newsfeed, you’ll see it in your Newsfeed. You’ll know in which site the post originated by the post. In this example, the post came from the SharePoint Team site:
Three Ways to Benefit from Following Sites on your SharePoint Newsfeed:
- If your team has its own SharePoint site, everyone on your team should follow the site. This allows you to quickly communicate with one another and not ever have to suffer the agony of searching endless email chains to recall the conversation.
- The top page of the root site collection can be used as a company announcement board. Everyone in the organization can follow the site. HR can announce upcoming changes to policy. The CEO can announce an across-the-board salary increase!
- Follow the Sales team’s site. They can announce important wins.
Following Documents on your SharePoint Newsfeed
You can follow specific documents. Whenever a change is made to either the document or the document’s metadata, you’ll be notified of who made the change.
Follow documents that are important to your current task. If you collaborate on a document, follow it to know instantly when changes are made. This prevents you from having to constantly ask your co-worker and unburdens everyone from having to send out an email to the change notifying them of changes.
Although you can follow individual documents, you cannot, however, follow an entire document library. It some cases, you may want to know when a change is made to any document in a library. It seems, given how Following in SharePoint works, that you should be able to follow the library. You cannot. Instead, create you need to create an alert.
Hopefully this blog gave you some ideas and helped illustrate how following the right people, sites, and documents can help you quickly obtain the most current information relating to your work. Notifications of these changes won’t get lost in the endless flood of daily emails. The information and history will always be accessible in your SharePoint Newsfeed. Thanks for reading!