Collaboration tools I’m considering

We’ve been looking at various Web 2.0-ish collaboration tools that might make our life easier when working with clients on projects. I introduced some of my team to some of the poster children of the collaboration space:

The feedback was interesting: DreamFactory was too sophisticated. The view was that if you wanted to go this far as DreamFactory would let you then you may as well stick with MS Project. Basecamp on the other hand was too simple, little better than just using basic Outlook Email and Google Docs. Huddle seemed just right. In particular its support for online editing of Word and Excel docs (using Zoho for extra Web 2.0 brownie points) in addition to offline editing was singled out for praise.

This feedback is based on a particular way of working so won’t work for everyone. However it was surprising to me (as a Ruby on Rails believer) that Basecamp got such short shrift from people with no axe to grind. I’d welcome any views on the pros and cons of various modern collaborative tools.

Web 2008 = Rock n Roll 1968 ?

The BBC may have written this in 2006 but I only just got it recently. Here are some quotes

If Web 2.0 is the new rock ‘n’ roll, who are the one-hit wonders and who will still be playing to packed stadiums in 40 years’ time?

The comparison isn’t quite as ridiculous as it may appear. Forty years ago, music was leading a social revolution, disrupting the establishment and empowering a new generation.

Today’s web technology and social media, known as Web 2.0, or the second wave of the internet, are leading a similar challenge and the long-term effects are likely to be greater.

Once again we are divided into those who get it and those who don’t. There is hyperventilating on the blog barricades about the end of the old order and the birth of the new counter-culture, information anarchy.

It was a recent posting on Confused Of Calcutta about Facebook that did it for me. JP is a long-time believer in the power of Facebook in the enterprise – but that’s not what I want to talk about here. Here are a couple of comments, one after the other, that really attracted my attention:

Ross Mayfield:

Part of what makes Facebook work across enterprises is it is new. That wont last. Part of it is fragmenting modalities, that will continue. Part of it is the trend towards the personal, but socially connected, and you know where that is going. Make things trend towards the transparent and you gain serendipitous discovery, and memory.

Ayesha Lakhani

But i guess..networking sites like facebook..if taken seriously can bring about a dramatic change in the appearance of the society.

I just came across one such group on facebook and i got to the positive effects of these applications..these are the highlights of the group:

Be the first generation to end poverty by 2015 with the United Nations’ Eight Goal Millennium Campaign.

1. End Hunger

2. Universal Education

3. Gender Equity

4. Child Health

5. Maternal Health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS

7. Environmental Sustainability

8. Global Partnership

Ross’s comment isn’t completely anti-Facebook. (The really anti-facebook people don’t spend time on the web reading and writing blogs). Yet there is a very clear difference in emphasis between Ross and Ayesha. On the one hand: Facebook is useful largely because of its novelty, which will wear off. On the other hand Ayesha’s wide-eyed enthusiasm does seem a touch, well, hippy-ish. Just as the BBC described.

And then here’s a comment on Sourcing Innovation about the power of social networkiness:

I am a recent Grad, who landed into the procurement industry extremely green (pun intend). I have found great uses for facebook, linkedin and recently to help me network in this small but exciting industry. Due to the amount of Baby Boomers running around this profession, I believe this your reason for lack of new content and daily bloggers.

Now contrast this comment with the stated view of Sourcing Innovation’s owner in that post who is resolutely staying off Facebook (for example).

OK, I’m sold. But here’s the interesting point for me. If the Web in 2008 is equivalent to Rock’n’Roll in 1968 then .. well we’ve had our Monterey Pop Festival (1967) – but we’ve still got our equivalent of Woodstock to look forwards to.