What is iQ Social?
iQ Social is the name of the iQ Technology social networking platform for businesses. We set out in early 2009 to produce a scalable social networking platform for the masses that could be used in various vertical markets as either an internal or external solution. The goal in designing the system was to create a system that is near infinite, scalable, highly available, and features solid performance when dealing with high traffic volumes. What that means is you can have millions of followers and connections and iQ Social remains lightening fast in performance.
iQ Social contains configurable social networking components and modules that produce the great features made available to the enterprise. These include Stream (social newsfeed), Advisor (recommendation engine), Categories (friend management service), Search, Filters, Notifications (alerts), Favorites, @Mentions, Connections, Following, Social Consumers, Percept (analytics), and much more. Below are a couple of highlights (stream followed by a detailed feature breakdown.
This is the iQ Stream, where users share content and see what their contacts are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed or the Google+ Stream.
To use iQ Social, you can either create an account with iQ or use your existing Facebook or Twitter user account credentials.
If you choose to create an iQ account, it’s simple: just fill in the information like your name, password, birthday, zip code, gender, and country.
Note: In an enterprise deployment, all of these account fields are configurable so that you can determine what is required to setup an account and login.
Once you create an iQ Social account, the first thing you should do is create a profile. To help you with this process, iQ presents you with a “welcome” page. This page guides you through the process of writing something about yourself, creating a username (needed for @mentions), selecting your profile photo, and selecting your interests (needed to help the Advisor recommendation engine make suggestions on connections and content). If you choose not to complete the steps in the welcome page, a reminder to complete these steps is provided showing your profile percent complete until the basic setup steps are completed.
Note: In an enterprise deployment, the welcome page is configurable so that you can determine how you wish to welcome the user and what guides you want in place to help a user get up and running quickly.
The welcome page is a primer to help you initially setup your profile. To complete your profile, select your user photo in the upper right corner and than select “Edit Profile” from the drop-down list.
The edit profile view enables you to set a myriad of profile details such as “contact,” “connection categories,” “interests,” “expertise,” “education,” and much more. The more data you complete the better the Advisor can suggest smart connections and content. Also, we care about your privacy so you can determine what data is displayed about you to the network.
If you want to add friends, iQ Social enables you to send a friend request via e-mail or by selecting your e-mail provider such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail. You can even share your profile outside of the platform as iQ provides a user-friendly URL to share with friends or to post to websites.
Your profile also displays connections, following, links to your other social sites, events you are attending, polls you have participated in or created, access to your posts with comments, and any RSS news feeds you have setup (see Settings below).
Note: In an enterprise deployment, the profile fields and views are configurable to meet your specific needs for user identity and management.
We know your privacy is important so we provide the tools to modify your privacy. The privacy settings enable you to control what profile information is made public as well as the content you share in the stream. You also can setup network category defaults for posting to your network.
Other functions include setting a display name, a username for @Mention support, enabling the streaming of auto news feeds to your profile, and configuring how you wish to get notified; for example, when someone comments on your post, or sends you a connection request, or linking your blog or website.
iQ provides what we call “social consumers.” Social consumers pull in your posts, photos, videos, stories, links, etc. from other social networking sites and make them available to view on your iQ Social profile. iQ Social enables you to link YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, SlideShare, and Tumblr accounts.
You can setup these accounts from settings and selecting “services”
Note: For an enterprise deployment, iQ is customizable to support other popular social network services of your choice.
The iQ platform keeps a complete history of all of your posts, tags, and more. The iQ History view keeps track of all the content you have posted so it becomes your online card catalog of what you have shared. Think of it as a scrapbook that writes itself. The history feature is not so much a process to “recover the past” as it is an ongoing service to help you manage and classify your entire post listings. Furthermore, iQ does not present the timeline with an algorithm that attempts to determine what is important to you—we simply present all of your data in a list and let you decide what to keep, archive, or remove.
Connect and Follow
There is a difference between connecting with someone and following someone or something (e.g., program, classroom, group, journalist, etc.). iQ enables you the flexibility to do both. As an example, Facebook enables you to “connect” with your friends and have a two-way conversation within an activity stream for a more personalized experience. You send a connection request so it’s permission-based and the recipient must accept your connection request to complete the action.
On Twitter, you “follow” entities and consume a one-way post. These are people or organizations where you might not have a personal connection—but have interest in what they are saying. Follow is not permission-based so you can follow any entity that is setup as public and not private. However, you can “block” a follow. A great example of using follow is following a media entity to consume their newsfeeds.
iQ enables you to setup both connect and follow capabilities supporting both needs of the enterprise. You can have one million followers and one million connections and iQ supports those types of requests with unmatched performance.
iQ also enables the enterprise to setup flexible and configurable entity types so that someone could “follow” the marketing department; yet, “connect” with an individual in the marketing department. The configurations and possibilities are endless and support whatever your needs are as an individual or enterprise.
When the Advisor (recommendation engine) makes suggestions for you, it takes into account both connect, and follow, as well as content recommendations based on who you are (user profile data) combined with your online behaviors. (See Advisor below.)
Note: For an enterprise deployment, the follow capabilities are setup by the administrator as they create the corporate entities that require follow rather than connect.
Understanding Connection Categories is essential for mastering iQ Social. We give you complete control over who sees your content and provide targeted posting.
Targeted posting can occur because iQ Social enables you to create custom categories for your contacts within the network. For example, as an internal business solution, this enables you put a co-worker in your “Colleagues” bucket, your boss in the “Management” bucket and perhaps classify employees from other departments (e.g., marketing or human resources) in the “Marketing” or “Human Resources” buckets.
So, why would one want to create connection categories in the first place? The answer is simple: You want to share different things with different contacts. We all have different category buckets for our contacts. We post differently to our friends or family than we do with colleagues or acquaintances. The Connect Categories gives you the ability and control over both what you share and what content pops us in your stream.
In settings, the platform gives you more granular control over adding or removing people. You can also rename any default classification or completely remove it. In fact, you can quickly do bulk category assignment by quickly viewing your entire network and assigning the appropriate category.
The stream is a newsfeed of the latest content shared by your network. The content can be anything from a photo, video, thought, news link, and more. The stream includes Twitter feeds that can be presented to your network once you connect your Twitter account. Only “tweets” that use specific hashtags that are defined by the enterprise show up in the activity stream.
To avoid user confusion as to why some posts appear at the top of the stream and others don’t, the iQ stream is presented in a date & time chronological order so that the latest posted content is at the top of the stream. However, the stream is configurable to support settings such as viewing post at the top of the stream that has the most recent comment.
iQ Social provides four distinct categories for the stream: Global, Network, @Mentions and Favorites.
- The global stream works like Twitter in that it presents a fire hose of posts from anyone using iQ that wants to make posts “public.” Viewing the global stream is great way to learn what others find interesting and wish to share with everyone.
- The network stream presents posts like Facebook or Google+ in that it only shows newsfeeds from those individuals or entities in which you have a connection or choose to follow.
- The favorites stream is a listing of posts that you want to bookmark and save for later for quick access. You can mark and post as a favorite. It’s easy to remove favorites simply by clicking the word “unfavorite” next to the post.
- The @mentions stream presents posts from anyone that has sent you a direct response in relation to a comment or post. An @mention contains a @username (insert username of the person you are replying to) anywhere in the body of the content Any @mention you receive shows up in your @mentions tab in the stream. You also receive notifications whenever someone tags your @mention username in a post or comment. To use @mention for a direct reply a username must be setup in settings.
Updating your status is easy—all you need to do is type some content in the “Share” box at the top of your stream and choose where to share it. You can share it with the public (everyone that uses iQ—not just your network) or to everyone in your network (all of your followers and connections) or share it with a specific subset of your network (colleagues, acquaintances, or a specific department). Like Facebook and Google+, iQ Social automatically detects the content of the links you share and enables you to choose a thumbnail from that link and post comments before posting.
When sharing something, you can choose to post to the public, network everyone or network + category, or only me. The only me selection is a great way to bookmark material that you wish to tag and catalog in your history (timeline) for future reference (similar to the function of Delicious).
When viewing your stream, iQ makes it easy to filter the content by “type” with a single click. It’s easy to only view videos, images, links, blogs, or status updates. You can also quickly filter by time. For example, you can select to show only what has occurred today, in the past seven days, thirty days or year.
Lastly, when you post to iQ you can also share that same post with Twitter and Facebook so that iQ is not a social platform unto itself; rather, it’s a hub to share with many social destinations and consume from many social sources.
Notifications and Pulse
A notification is an alert when something occurs in your network. iQ supports both onsite, email and in-stream notifications.
- Onsite real-time notifications appear in the upper right corner of iQ Social. When you have new notifications, a red box is displayed indicating the number of new notifications you received. For example, if a user has commented on one of your posts, you will see the number “1” in the notification box. When selecting an online notification, the direct link to the comment is presented directing you to that specific post. Notifications occur when someone in your network takes a poll, adds an event, comments on a post, and more.
- Even though an email is associated with your account at all times, email notifications remain optional as some enterprises would rather not add to your e-mail inbox flood. The e-mail notification feature gives you control over what you types of notifications you wish to receive. For example, you can select to only receive an e-mail on a connection request vs. an e-mail every time someone posts a comment to something you shared.
- iQ provides “pulse” items that act as a notification service based on network activity. A pulse item is a notification within the stream. The pulse displays activities of your network such as “John just connected with Frank” or “Gary just took a Poll” or “Susan just created an event.”
The iQ Advisor is an adaptive recommendation engine. It’s purpose is to provide you suggestions on content, as well as who to connect with and follow. It’s adaptive because it learns from your behavior. For example, it learns from the type of content that you post and “like” to the type of connections and follows you have in your network. It learns from your profile such as interests, education, expertise, and so forth. The more information you can provide the iQ Advisor, the more accuracy it is with suggestions or predictions.
Note: An example of using the Advisor in an enterprise solution is that it can make recommendations to experts to help answer questions or connect new employees in an onboarding situation.
Search and Filters
The iQ Social platform enables you to search through the iQ social network’s vast array of content. iQ searches through three things: people, content (posts), and entity types (department, organizations, etc.). If you conduct a search for “John,” for example, you will be shown a page with the most relevant people to the search, along with any posts or entity types that match the search query. You can search just your stream, your network, or all of iQ Social. iQ also supports trending topics, which lets you know the hottest topic of conversation with the iQ Social platform.
Note: In an enterprise deployment, these search crawls are configurable to best suit your business needs and organization structure.
iQ Social provides a corporate directory of all profiles—this includes custom entity types (e.g., Department) to user profiles. Using the directory is another method to quickly find expertise and located people to connect with or find organizations, departments, etc. to follow.
iQ Social has an analytics engine that we call Percept. Percept gives you a breakdown of user data based on how the user interacts with the site. For example, how a user interacts with a specific page, how a user moves throughout the site, how pages are viewed over time, and more. Percept is a flexible and configurable analytics engine that enables you to view and analyze data to meet the needs of your company or organization.
Events and Opinion Polls
iQ enables you to create events and custom opinion polls to share inside and outside of your network.
- Events can be anything (birthday, convention, competition, corporate or department meeting, etc.). With events, you can publish to your network the type, location, date, and description. With the Google Maps integration, the system provides the exact targeted location.
- The iQ opinion polls (also referred to as a poll) is similar to the Facebook Ask Question feature; however, iQ provides more capabilities with multi-questions, drill-down by location, and heat maps. Opinion polls are designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities. You can create an unlimited number of polls and share them within your iQ network as well as outside to other popular social networking sites.
News and Bookmarklet
iQ enables you to consume newsfeeds daily from any target news source on the Internet that supports RSS. These customizable news feeds can be setup to support internal news or any news about a topic or subject. You can even setup categories for news. For example, you can have a category for Technology (with multiple different RSS feeds), or another category for Business (with multiple different RSS feeds), etc.
If you like the news story, you can share it. Any news story pulled into the system can be shared to “only me,” “network + category” or “public.” The news sources could be internal or external.
iQ also make it easy to share with the iQ Social Bookmarklet. A bookmarklet is intended to add one-click functionality to a browser or web page. Installation of the bookmarklet is an easy drag and drop function. As a user you simply drag the iQ bookmarklet widget to your browser toolbar. Whenever you are on a website story, you simply click the iQ bookmarklet in your toolbar and it works like the iQ share function: It consumes the story, related images, links, and allows you to share your thoughts before posting. You can also select the intended audience. It’s that simple.
Note: For an enterprise deployment, the iQ bookmarklet can be branded for the specific needs of the enterprise.
We are very aware of the trust you place in us and the responsibility we have to help you protect your privacy. As part of this responsibility, we make sure you have the privacy controls within your profile to determine what data you wish to share to your network and the public.
For an enterprise deployment, we are very transparent in that we do not collect any data on your users with your system setup as a SaaS in the cloud. It’s your data.
iQ Technology provides professional services to help you meet your business objectives with a successful adoption of your social media deployment. We are backed by decades of experience in social media, platform development, and services delivery.
We offer a variety of services that span the entire life-cycle of social media software deployments. Our consultants work closely with you to understand your business objectives and help develop and refine strategies to meet those objectives. Our team becomes core members of your team to help guide and deploy the best possible community experience and social strategy.
Implementing a social media software program is more than just installing software. Core strategy consulting involves integration with existing systems, user adoption, and measuring return on investment. Using our methodology and experience, our team ensures your social media program is executed and aligned to meet your business goals and objectives.
Our technical team of highly skilled engineers helps ensure the success of your social media program and iQ technology deployment. Our services include installation, configuration, integration, and customizations.
Hosting: The iQ Social platform can be deployed as a SaaS (software as a service) or on your servers behind your firewall.
Most enterprise software is not out-of-the-box; meaning, it typically requires customization to meet the business goals. iQ Social is highly configurable supporting custom fields in the user profiles, to custom search return configurations, to custom profile entity types. We also provide the custom branding so that iQ Social reflects your organization’s look and feel.
Integration to existing IT systems is important. At iQ, we integrate with popular content management systems (CMS) as well as integrate with popular user management systems such as Microsoft Exchange.
It’s important to be able to monitor your community as well as have the community report items such as abuse. The iQ Social platform enables community members to report abuse on content and profiles. For each item that is flagged, the site administrator(s) are notified. Administrators can easily setup user accounts or modify or remove them. Individual content items and can flagged for removal or all content items for a selected user.
What’s Next for iQ?
iQ Social is far from finished. The iQ platform and services will evolve as we continue to work with clients and users to meet business needs and user expectations.
Up next is our unique approach to online groups within a social network as well as some other adaptive learning functions (Basic Intelligent Semantic Heuristics Program – BISHP) so that iQ Social Media is smart social media—a system that learns from user online behavior in order to make the most relevant content and connection suggestions. It’s only the beginning as we work to provide you with smart social media. Have feedback? Send us a note at email@example.com