Om Malik’s WWD suggests that enterprise 2.0 doesn’t work?

January 7, 2007 12:56 pm 0 comments

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Om Malik (Omar?) had been a lead editor of Wired Magazine until starting his own news reporting network Starting with a general technology posts, they have branched out to niches which are now more focused.

One of the branches addresses workers on the go, called Web Worker Daily.

They just wrote a piece comparing IM VS Email as a collaboration tool.

What is more interesting is that all of the arguments they present promoting IM as a better collaboration tool go directly against the arguments other companies are making to promote “Enterprise 2.0” tools such as Blogs and Wikis.

In a work environment, if our ideas are exposed to too many others too early on–as when you know everyone’s watching via “cc” and “reply all,” we’ll be less likely to share the most outrageous ones, the ones that could be just the breakthrough the team needs. In a comparatively sheltered IM exchange, we can test out ideas with less fear of judgment and criticism.

Now, people are promoting blogs with the exact opposite argument, that free-form knowledge sharing can open up knowledge silos with companies.

Psychologists have found that people working in groups suffer consistently from problems like groupthink (coming to a false consensus because of social pressures to be agreeable and to respect dominant members of the group) and social loafing (assuming someone else is doing the work so you can take it easy)–see The Idiocy of Crowds if you want more on that.

How might the wisdom of crowds show up in IM versus email? IM, because it’s mainly one-to-one and brief, doesn’t create an environment that encourages groupthink and social loafing. On IM, you’re mostly left with your own ideas–with a few inputs from your buddy that ideally will be sparks and not dampers to the further fire of ideas. On IM, you can’t assume someone else is doing the work, because you won’t see long dissertations on how this or that should be done.

I really dont think this is an effective argument to make, and this line of thought goes directly against using Wikis within the enterprise to maintain a common evolving knowledge pool.

I personally disagree heavily with this article — Enterprise 2.0 has huge potential to increase transparency and also allow the company to operate on “collective wisdom” rather than subjective individual ideas. Blogs flatten the hierarchy and allow everyone to look at each other’s concerns well before they become issues. Wikis — if used effectlvely — because the yellow notepad of everyone’s thoughts, onyl that you can easily link those thoughts together.

Most of all, every activity can be documented, categorized, and searched up to the satisfaction of any audit department.

We have a full enterprise 2.0 rollout within CDF, and we love it. Most of our status reporting is done throguh blogs, and most of the decision tree within projects are implemented in wikis. 90% of our office is paperless, and it takes seconds to go back to any individual decision even from months ago.

So I would say more Offices should consider moving away from email into blogs and wikis as the official mode of communication within their enterprise.

The single most important benefit that IM cannot provide is link different parts of different conversations, meetings and decisions together into one cohesive thread of thought within the organzation.

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