Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Does Web 2.0 save time, or eat up even more of it?

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on Web 2.0: Why Email No Longer Rules… And what that means for the way we communicate. After nicely outlining different implications of the new communication tools, it ends with a critical remark regarding the potentially time consuming aspect of Web 2.0:

"We get lured into wasting time, telling our bosses we are looking into something, instead of just doing it, for example. And we will no doubt waste time communicating stuff that isn't meaningful, maybe at the expense of more meaningful communication."

I've been asked this question many times before, and I realize that it is an particularly important issue for senior management witin organisations. However, I think the question approaches the topic from the right angle.

I would rather look at this from a perspective of an empowered workforce. Unlike in past times, where we had one job for a lifetime and a clearly defined top-down hirarchy would determine and control exactly what a worker has to do, we are as workers today much more in charge and responsible of our performance management, our learning, our networking and our career planning. Anything which doesn't help us becoming better professionals and getting our job done, will not be used. On the other hand, if we use something, that means that there was value for us as professionals and for our work results. And that value is determined individually by each user, not by the organization as such.

That is why not everyone is using all Web 2.0 tools & techniques, but only those which provide value for a certain user in a certain situation. Providing these tools from a corporate perspective is therefore not a matter of telling people what to do, what not to do, and how to do it, but rather creating an enabling environment for users who are free to use whatever helps them (according to their own judgement) to achieve results and improve in their jobs.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm burning out. Not from too much work or too much web 2.0. I'm burning out from not accomplishing anything of substance. On second thought, yes it is too much web 2.0 which is typically input overload and too little time creating and laboring. It all seems so shallow and time-wasting.

It's like too many high heels in the closet or info on too many brands of work boots, but I never get my workboots dirty anymore. I just plan which boots to wear given all the suggestions in the world.

~Candace

Johannes Schunter said...

I agree, if I'd want to use all the tools available that would be just way too much. The major skill to aquire for the upcoming years (to stick with your analogy) will be to know which boots to wear for which weather and task...

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