Web 2.0 articles in bdaily #8 – Conclusion

by Justin Souter on March 2, 2009

n.b. This was originally published on bdaily.


Photo credit to bootload

“Web 2.0: Conclusion

With Justin Souter of Souter Consulting

Part 4 [sic] of a series of articles on the application of Web 2.0

In writing this conclusion, I first would like to thank you for staying with me since January, and for your comments and informal feedback – much appreciated!

However, I feel this article is less a conclusion, more an invitation to go and explore for yourselves what I’ve discussed.

Please support further articles in this series – I am lining up at least one further contributor, so let me know if you’re interested or need help. You might also wish to sign up to the Tuttle North East mailing list, to network with others with similar interests in this area.

I’m conscious that I have mainly ‘accentuated the positive’, when there are numerous downsides and new rules to learn. Groundswell’s authors, for example, discuss Social Media tools and ‘How they threaten institutional power‘ . Psychologist Oliver James asserts that “Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.” The preface to Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0 states:

“But Web 2.0 also embodies a set of unintended consequences, including the increased flow of personal information across networks, the diffusion of one’s identity across fractured spaces, the emergence of powerful tools for peer surveillance, the exploitation of free labor for commercial gain, and the fear of increased corporatization of online social and collaborative spaces and outputs.”

In an organisational context, many managers feel that Web 2.0 (and social media in particular) are lowering productivity and employee focus, and restricting access to these tools as a result. IMHO this is also the case for using the phone and checking personal e-mails at work, so at best this is a short-term measure, and at worst a longer-term mistake:

“In [Don] Tapscott’s view, many chief information officers (CIOs) do not understand the potential of tools such as Twitter, wikis, blogs and collaboration networks, as well as the cost involved in introducing systems that bring value to the business.

“There are many tools that can really aid effective collaboration and they are not necessarily costly. Those systems are every bit as important as customer relationship management systems or enterprise resource planning platforms,” he said.”

Jeff‘s review of Groundswell states it “is about relationships, not technologies.” As David Coxon suggested to me, this can leave the IT Department in a bind because your team members might be using cloud-based tools which your techies don’t control or necessarily understand – and the details of contacts go with the employee when they leave.

On a more positive note, Jeff’s review continues: “The 7 lessons from great Groundswell thinkers are:

  1. Never forget that the groundswell is about person-to-person activity
  2. Be a good listener
  3. Be patient
  4. Be opportunistic
  5. Be flexible
  6. Be collaborative
  7. Be humble”

So, you’ve been tellt!”

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