RIM Improves Social Networking for Consumers and Enterprises

It wasn't too long ago when mega-social-network Facebook was only an experimental service used by a group of Harvard students. And Twitter was just a word used to describe birdcalls. But much has changed in the social networking space over the past three years. Just ask BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion's (RIM) Tom Goguen, the company's first VP of Social Networking and Collaboration.

Goguen believes enterprises can get just as much value out of social networking services like Facebook and Twitter as the average consumer, if not more.

"Let's face it, most business is about relationships," Goguen says. "The better I can establish, maintain and manage those relationships [using social networking tools], the better I can do my job."

That's why RIM has released a variety of its own social networking applications, including official Facebook for BlackBerry and Twitter for BlackBerry apps. Both applications are very popular; Goguen says there are some 33.4 million active Facebook for BlackBerry users and 7.2 million Twitter for BlackBerry users, many of whom employ corporate BlackBerrys.

"Social networking is not just about entertainment, it's about information," Goguen says. "We enable both, but we really want to help you get stuff done."

Goguen knows many organizations have been hesitant to embrace social networks, particularly companies whose employees regularly carry sensitive corporate data on their BlackBerry smartphones. And some of those companies will never feel secure enough to allow "consumer" apps like Facebook or Twitter for BlackBerry onto their enterprise handhelds, he says.