10 arguments for web2.0 in an organization

03.09.2007| Christian Kreutz

It is not always easy to argue in favour of web2.0 tools when you are faced with these arguments:

  • More information? My mailbox already drives me nuts!
  • The content written by some people is often so irrelevant and just for entertainment.
  • I spent already so much time online and now I shall even invest more time on these social networks, wikis etc.
  • I can find my stuff in google. Why shall I tag, blog or share bookmarks?
  • Didn't we try this online interaction before and it failed? Look at forums and why they never worked.
  • IT solutions often fail. Look at all these outdated databases where you cannot find what you need.

Lida Rose at flickrI already wrote some posts about communication and knowledge sharing through web2.0 in an organization. To me, it seems worthwhile to experiment with it, especially because it empowers each member of an organization. But being convinced and enthusiastic is not enough to help people overcome their skepticism about just another set of IT tools. ** So I tried to summarize ten arguments, which help me often persuade colleagues and friends to give web2.0 a try.**

  1. Overview: Look at folder structure on your computer. Did it work to store your documents in the right folder and to find them quickly later on? How are the search results of your intranet? Imagine you could criss-cross through tag clouds of topics from your organization, with a few clicks you would find your niche topic. It is not magic. Social bookmarking tools, such as delicious, show it works. It does not use folders. Instead it relies on tags.
  2. Transparency: In emails and classical Intranet, dominated environment information is in-transparent. It goes vertical or horizontal and hides all the valuable information--interesting for others--in mailboxes of individuals.
  3. Relevance: Emails reach you whether you want them or not, and a lot of their content has no relevance to your work. With RSS feeds, you subscribe to what is relevant to your work or what deals about your topic. With your blog, you gather your own community of interest around you and share practice.
  4. Connectedness: Imagine address books or yellow pages would not be the only source to find competence. You could surf different wikis, blogs and bookmark pages, and see behind every page your colleagues discussions or people with similar links. All these conversations make you aware of who are the colleagues sharing your interest or problem.
  5. Openness: Using the read/write web in organizations means that you can interact at any point --being it in a wiki project page or a colleague's blog post-- and help to link the right people and the right topics together. For example, a profile page with a tag cloud of posts and links shows each person's interests in detail.
  6. Enrichment: Do you struggle over formal documents written in a boring way, leaving out the experiences and opinions. To codify tacit knowledge is a difficult task anyway. Blogs can become storytelling tools amplifying hundreds of learning experiences from daily practice of teams and colleagues.
  7. Easiness: The best part of most of the web2.0 tools is their easy handling. These tools are consequently made for people and have been many times tested to make them better. The beta mode of many applications shows their openness to approach improvement. In contrast, to complicated content management systems, wikis and blogs do not require training.
  8. Technology: A great thing about many web2.0 tools is their often easy technology. You do not have to ask for every second step to the IT department. It is not a sophisticated database with a complicated interface that fails in giving you the right information. Web2.0 means that staff can create and mix tools and media themselves. Blogs can be set up in minutes, interdependencies are created through links and not failing search robots.
  9. Network: Did you ever struggle while navigating through a website? No surprise because it shows only a one dimensional perspective on the organizational knowledge. When colleagues frequently bookmark what interest them in an organizational web and share this with others, then, they weave their own web. This, not only links the real knowledge domains important for an organization; it also creates a social network.
  10. Contribution: Such a web relies on the contribution of its members. It, therefore, highlights and re-numerates the most active contributors, who are willing to share knowledge and like to connect people to learn from each other.

And last but not least, web2.0 has of course obstacles because interaction often remains online. But how great can it work when you find an interesting blog post from a colleague and then ask him to have lunch next week.