Salesforce.com is taking a different approach to social technology by embedding capabilities directly into the context of the application. Other vendors incorporate collaboration items like instant messaging or content sharing, but not to the extent of salesforce.com. Salesforce.com attempts to use principles similar to those of Facebook for CRM applications, and sees Facebook as having changed the way consumers share information and content with each other. Chatter provides salespeople with social tools to collaborate during the sales process, and opens up the customer support process to anyone in the enterprise, increasing the opportunity for innovative resolutions to problems.
As is the case with any new approach there are upsides but also challenges. Take a look at Michael Maoz’s and my research note on gartner.com, Salesforce.com’s Chatter: Facebook-Like Feel for CRM Applications, to get an analysis of the pros and challenges of Salesforce.com’s Chatter.