Share ideas, sites, and content

Social computing features in SharePoint Server and Office 365 allow you to share ideas, sites, and content with people in your organization. If you’re using Office 365, you may also be able to share with people outside your organization.

In this article


The benefits of sharing

It’s true that SharePoint Server and Office 365 provide powerful tools for storing documents, posting messages, and creating sites. But of equal importance is how social features can bind these tools together in ways that allow an organization to tap its collective knowledge.

As you share ideas, sites, and content, others can obviously benefit from what you know and what you’ve found. Perhaps less obvious is that when you share information, you position yourself for making new discoveries and learning from others as they respond to what you’ve shared.

Let’s consider a few examples, below.

Sidney connects with new people by starting a conversation

Sidney is a manager at a restaurant supply chain and is researching espresso machine distributors. He finds a promising distributor and starts a new conversation with a link to their website, and asks if anyone has experience working with the company.

A newsfeed item

When he checks his newsfeed later, he finds several replies, including one from a co-worker in another department, Diane, who appears to have substantial knowledge on the topic. Sidney decides to start following Diane, as it’s clear that she could be an asset to his research.

A newsfeed item with two replies

With this kind of information exchange, important connections can proliferate across an organization. Thus, sharing your own ideas can easily result in discovering other people and their ideas.

Sidney gets feedback on a PowerPoint deck by sharing it in OneDrive for Business

Sidney prepares a PowerPoint deck that compares several espresso machine distributors. He wants to get feedback on the deck, as well as make it available to anyone else who might be interested. So first he adds the document to OneDrive for Business, and then takes a couple of actions to make it available to others:

  • He shares it with specific people, sending everyone an email describing the deck and the feedback he’s interested in getting.
    Sharing a document
  • He shares it with everyone in his organization, but without sending email to everyone. When shared this way, others people can discover the document by searching. So, for example, anyone in Sidney’s organization who’s researching espresso machines could find Sidney’s post and PowerPoint deck by searching on the word “espresso”.

A search result

When people find the post, they can point at it to view the entire conversation.


A search result with a full conversation displayed on a item

When people edit Sidney’s document, he finds out about it in his newsfeed:

Newsfeed update reporting that someone has edited a document you're following

Additionally, anyone else who has chosen to follow Sidney’s document gets notified about changes to the document in their newsfeed.

Sidney promotes particular sites or learns about popular sites

On Sidney’s Sites page, he see a number of suggestions about sites he may want to start following.

The list of suggestions consists of sites being followed by people Sidney is currently following. It makes sense that if Sidney finds these people interesting enough to follow, he might want to know about the sites they’re following. He might also see sites that large numbers of people in the organization are following.

Of course, as Sidney starts following sites himself, he makes it possible for other people to discover them, as the people following Sidney may see the site as a suggestion for them to start following.

Sidney publishes details about himself

Sidney knows he can benefit his organization and improve productivity by sharing his expertise. He also wants to make sure he doesn’t miss opportunities to find information as well as the people who have this information. To improve his ability to meet both objectives, Sidney first visits his user profile where he does all of the following:

  • Enters a description of his current activity
    User profile "about me" field
  • Lists his areas of expertise in “Ask Me About” to allow others to find him when they search with his terms
    User profile "Ask me about" field
  • Checks options under Newsfeed Settings so that he gets updates about people he’s following
    User profile newsfeed settings

Participate in conversations in your Newsfeed

Go to your Newsfeed to start a new conversation or reply to conversation items. Conversation items can include all of the following features:

  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Links to other conversations
  • #tags. That is, keyword links that people can click to see a list of items that reference the keyword or term.
  • Mentions: names of people in your organization. You and others can click an @mention link to go to the associated person’s About page. Additionally, the person you’ve mentioned receives an email informing them that they were mentioned.

See Post something to everyone for detailed information.

Share documents in OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is like your own personal corporate library. When you share a document in OneDrive for Business, you can optionally send an email to notify people that you’ve shared a document with them.

Additionally, when you share a document, you optionally choose to start following it. When you follow a document, you get updates in your newsfeed when other people edit the document. People with whom you’ve shared the document can also choose to start following it.

 Note    If you’re using Office 365, you may be able to share documents with external users (people not on your network) by inviting them to share documents as “Guests.”

See Share items in OneDrive for Business for detailed information.

Follow and share sites

Go to your Sites page to create new sites (if you have the required permissions), to see sites you’re currently following, and to see suggestions for sites you may want to start following.

For details, see Create a site and Follow sites that interest you.

Tell people about yourself

An often overlooked but powerful way to share information with people is to fill out your user profile and keep it up-to-date. In particular, you can:

  • Update your status message to tell people what you’re doing, or important events coming up
  • Add terms to the “Ask Me About” and “Interests” fields to allow people to find you using Search. Whenever you use a #tag in a conversation post, the tag is automatically added to the Interests field in your user profile.
  • Check options for sharing activities so that people following you get notified about changes. For example, if you’ve checked Updating your “Ask me About”, people following you get an update in their newsfeed whenever you update that field in your user profile.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Online Website, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard