As you may already know, the Lync APIs allow you to integrate Lync into other applications. We can already see this integration when using Microsoft applications to see the Lync status availability of colleagues. Other companies can use those same Lync APIs to extend the experience into other applications.
Here's a cool application I found recently that really displays the power of the Lync API. For Twitter and LinkedIn fans, how would you like to integrate your Lync status so that you can update your status in all three at the same time? If so, the nice guys over at PLA have created a free small app to take your Lync Status and push it to Twitter and LinkedIn. The app is called LyncSocial and the LyncSocial application is a free download with no registration required.
When you click on the download, an msi will run to install the Lync Social application.
Once installed, the LyncSocial application will run as a separate app in the tray. You can configure the application using the downloaded LyncSocial software.
In the screenshot above, there are several configuration tick boxes that you can edit to say where you would like your Lync status to appear. When these configuration tick boxes are unticked you can use the hash tags section to send optional updates. When I initially looked at the application, the configuration settings confused me a little as the Twitter and LinkedIn buttons were greyed out, but a quick look at the help solved that.
Here's an excerpt from the LyncSocial help:
LyncSocial allows you to update your status to your Twitter and/or LinkedIn accounts directly from your Microsoft Lync 2010 Client.
There are two ways to update your Twitter and/or LinkedIn status:
When selected, LyncSocial will update all Lync personal note changes to the chosen social media account. Once a onetime authentication process is completed, no further prompting will be necessary.
2. In Line Hash Marks
Alternatively, you can also include in line hash marks in your Lync personal note to send updates to Twitter and/or LinkedIn.
If you define #LI as the hash mark for LinkedIn and you type in the following comment:
"Too bad about da Bulls this year #LI", LyncSocial will update your LinkedIn status to show "Too bad about da Bulls this year".
LyncSocial will strip the defined in line hash marks before sending to the chosen social media account.
LyncSocial uses the oAuth protocol that is required by both Twitter and LinkedIn. More information can be found in the Twitter oAuth FAQ. The authentication process will occur the first time you send updates to your social media account. If permission is granted and authentication is successful, this information is cached and saved for future status updates. Authentication information can be cleared at any time by pressing the associated clear button in the settings page. Once cleared, it will be necessary to go through the authentication process again to post your status changes. This might be necessary if you decide to change the account in which you are sending status updates to.
In other words, when you first change your Lync Status, you will be prompted to authenticate with Twitter and LinkedIn. As an example, I set my status to Testing LyncSocial #TW #LI. Here are the screen shots for integrating your Lync status with Twitter and LinkedIn that followed.
When you click the Next button a browser window wil pop up displaying information about your LyncSocial application and what is about to happen.
Once logged in, you will be given an authentication number to put into Twitter.
You should then put this verification code back into the application.
Lync LinkedIn Integration
The LinkedIn integration proccess was simpler than the Twitter process. When integrating with LinkedIn, you just get a single window to authenticate with.
Shortly after authenticating, my Lync Status update was syndicated to LinkedIn. Once your Lync status is integrated with Twitter and LinkedIn, you will see the changes made in your Lync status synchronise with Twitter and LinkedIn. Here are the screenshots from my test run which shows my status as Testing LyncSocial in both Twitter and LinkedIn.
From then on, LyncSocial just sat in the tray updating my Twitter and LinkedIn statuses as and when I changed my Lync status. All in all, the LyncSocial application was a great little freebee from the guys at PLA.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, you may like to read the other articles in this series.