There some tools availble which support this approach. I found these two ones which allow changing your e-mail client into a social email tool.
It’s an Outlook plug-in which allows integrating Salesforce.com, MS Sharepoint and other applications. Xobni adds some other functions to optimize contacts and do have an interface to integrate Facebook and LinkedIn
It’s an add-on which increases the functionality of Gmail. The user is getting better information about the contacts and LinkedIn integration is available as well.
I read the article “8 Reasons “Social Email” is The Ideal Enterprise 2.0 Enabler” from David Lavenda this morning and can agree with his arguments, but not at all.
Generaly it’s a good approach using a completely adopted tool and adding new functionality. It’s only a small step to use the new features. They don’t need a different user interface and they are familiar with most of the functions. It’s not needed to think on it and open it on a different place. You will get a reminder every time opening you e-mail client.
On the other sight it won’t help to get rid of old habits. People will probably continue using the old way of communicating and adding only something social. I think we really need to be move to Enterprise 20. Everything you need to know should come to your desktop with the activity stream which is customized by the user.
We shouldn’t stay on the old push commuication. The user should decide which information is relevant and not the sender, but probably we can us social e-mail as enabler for the E20 adoption, like David wrote. The next step can be removing the e-mail functionality and moving to E20 totally. What’s your opinion?