Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Collaboration with Social Media

In the readings and discussions for class, I have been particularly interested in the possibilities for collaboration in solving problems and creating networks of like-minded contacts. In the Web 1.0 world, useful and interesting content and the opportunity to conduct business was made available to others, but it was essentially a one-way street. It was mostly one-way communication focused and included such tools as blogs, podcasts, youtube videos. With use of more collaborative social media tools like Wikipedia, Facebook, Wikis and Twitter, the wisdom of the crowd can be tapped in a much more robust fashion. Businesses and individuals can put a problem out there and get feedback from all corners allowing for the possibility of developing a more comprehensive or creative solution. In "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy", a social media consultant is quoted as saying, "I outsource my entire life. I can solve any problem on Twitter in six minutes." In the "Paradox of Interactive Web in the US Public Sector", the term "crowdsourcing" is referenced as a process using social media tools to establish a peer-to-peer way of mining ideas. Another example of these collaborative improvements is the development of GovLoop.com - a platform to allow government employees to participate with each other in an open way to share ideas and best practices. A term that was used in "Leveraging Web 2.0 in Government" was "collective intelligence". I particularly like that term and it parallels the recognition of the use of teams in the workplace in general - replacing the top down hierarchical practices of decision-making and problem-solving with a more collaborative approach. There is the recognition that this approach results in more creative, inclusive and comprehensive solutions. The adoption of the social media tools to open up the conversation to a wider audience can improve the ability for governments and businesses to provide better services, build trust with constituents/customers.

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