Which Collaboration Tool is for you?
What it is: A 140-character-per-post microblogging service
The cost: Free
What you can share: Messages, links and public and private replies
How to use it: Create private work accounts to keep info in-house, then share via web, mobile or desktop app
Who sees your posts: Your "followers" or the general public, per your update settings
Frustrations: Needing separate public and private accounts isn't ideal, and archives can be messy.
Why to use it: The short posts allow for quick info exchange; public accounts are good for PR and crowdsourcing answers.
What it is: A company-focused forum for co-workers to share what they're working on
The cost: Free for basic services; $1 per month per user for businesses to take more control of their networks
What you can share: Messages, links and replies
How to use it: Follow colleagues, tags and discussion threads via web, mobile, IM or desktop app
Who sees your posts: Those within your business who have a company e-mail, or selected departments and groups
Frustrations: You have to remember to tag your posts.
Why to use it: This insular network becomes a light and mobile intranet replacement.
What it is: A group chat tool for collaborating with clients, colleagues and co-workers
The cost: Free for up to four users; plans for more users--up to 100 chatters--range from $12 to $99 per month.
What you can share: Messages, images, documents, videos and computer code
How to use it: Converse with colleagues and clients via the web
Who sees your posts: Up to 1,000 invited members in a chat room
Frustrations: This web- and iPhone-only app can feel lonely if others aren't logged on.
Why to use it: Themed chat rooms help focus discussions, and you can review date and room archives.