Thursday, June 26, 2008

Web 2.0 -- Encouragement?

There is an interesting post that Andrew McAfee has written ... What he is talking about is whether Is Management the Problem? based on interactions with early adopters in the web 2.0 space.

There is the fact that one would expect managers to actively oppose these tools. And this is where the findings which emerge from the discussion are quite surprising. However, in my experience, i have found that managers are not actively opposed to the emerging world of social computing. The key word probably is actively. Why i would say this is because at times, the resistance is more indirect, and couched more in terms which are nothing to do with social computing in the first place.

Having said this, there is much to be said about the busyness factor. The fact is that in organizations, adoption of a lot of the social computing tools is not what it is when you go outside the firewall. This again is not surprising. Reason? Simple ... The way people operate on facebook, or any place outside the firewall, is not really the same as within the firewall. Something i have read about, and written about, too ... While there are incentives to spend some time on facebook everyday, update my status, and catch up with folks, if not going through some fun apps. On the other hand, wheres the incentive to do things which are definitely not half as much fun, and that too, have something to do with work!

Given this background, there is the issue of adoption. And, the fact that social computing is as good or as lousy as its adoption is. Which is where the cookie crumbles. There is, on the one hand, the scenario where users have no reason to adopt some of the social computing tools (ya, some folks understand their value, but hey ... why change the way things are done around here?), and on the other hand, there doesnt seem to be too much encouragement for changing them on the other hand.

Interesting thing is, it seems that a lot of us are being proved wrong when it comes to managers discouraging the idea of social computing. This is quite encouraging. Though, i am not sure whether it is too early to declare that spring is here. Like i have written before, things are changing. Question is, to what extent will they continue to change? The nature of boundaries is changing, decision making is shifting, and these together are having their own impact on the way work is being done. Question is ... to what extent would such changes be welcomed? Especially when they could probably change the basic way in which work is done, decisions made, and maybe, just maybe, power reallocated. This is early days yet, so it might be an excellent idea to watch these trends.

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