Debating enterprise Twitter

Thanks to a heads up from @jstorerj at Mzinga, I watched the debate last night on Current TV.  It streamed Twitter updates marked #current or #Debate08 at the bottom of the scream. This Wired article has the details and video that shows what it looked like during one of the earlier debates.

It was the most fascinating application of Twitter I have seen yet.  Sure, it was full of all kinds of random comments, some hilarious, some obnoxious, but it gave a great vibe of what people were thinking during the debate, at least within the self-selecting population of Twitter users.  It made me feel like I wasn’t watching the debate alone, even though I was.

We’ve been doing some research here on Twitter-for-the-enterprise services, including Yammer, Intridea’s, and the recent Signals announcement from Socialtext.  We’ve been playing with Yammer internally, so far mostly as a time waster but I can see its utility and I am interested to see what value we end up getting from it as more users join.

That said, I’m struggling to see how and where the technology eventually ends up in the enterprise.  Is it a stand-alone service that becomes a communication hub?  What will be the relationship with broader RSS aggregation in the enterprise?  Updates made to social software tools or ‘activity streams’?  And what about our current use of IM?  Does this replace, co-exist or intersect in some way with IM?

We’re interested in your comments, since we’re all playing around with this one at the same time it seems.  Has your company started using Yammer or internally?  Where do you see it going?