Week 1 Reading Response
Before I signed up for this course, I read the Wikipedia article on “Social Software”(recall in my intro I said I was a “wiki nut” J ). Once I stopped chasing all the hyperlinks and forgetting where I started, I found the article pretty interesting and it served as a good introduction to what exactly “social software” is and the various forms it takes. In fact it was this article that helped me decide that I needed to know more and wanted to take this course!
After reading the Wikipedia article, I read “Are you Ready for Social Software?” by Stowe Boyd, the article was good, though it provided similar information to the Wikipedia article. However, while reading this article I did what I always do and ended up chasing one of the links that lead me to Scott Kirsner’s artcle, “Culture of Collaboration”. The opening line lured me in “The promise is enticing: Get employees working together online to solve problems faster and become more responsive to customer needs. Perhaps save on travel and communications costs in the process.” Just before I left my last co-op at General Dynamics, they were in the midst of implementing a new Document Management System. The idea was that it would allow everyone to retrieve, file, and manage the life cycles of the thousands of documents created each day and most importantly, the software had a collaboration tool which allowed them to create workflows, use IM chats internally, and begin using social software to the benefit of the organization. While some were excited and looked forward to “ditching the drives and moving forward” others were concerned about the “big brother” affect and its ability to record and track everything that goes in and out of the system. This suggests that some will use the software and others will do everything in their power to avoid it. I found this article interesting because it discusses how some organizations get carried away with focusing on what the tools can do and not on the people who use the tools and thus they seem to loose sight of the “social” nature of the technology and the necessary human element. The article goes on to make suggestions about how you can make collaboration work in the enterprise. Overall the article was good and it made me think about past experiences, it also made suggestions regarding: making collaboration work, which maybe interesting to comment on in a later post.
Getting back to this weeks readings, I jumped back to Christopher Allen’s “Tracing the Evolution of Software”, while I don’t necessarily have any comments to make on the article, I did find it useful in conjunction with the Wikipedia article for making sense of social software and its origins.
There are still quite a few readings from this week that I’d like to look at, but that’s all the time there is for now since I kept getting distracted by the hyperlinks. I have a long train ride from London to Toronto bright and early tomorrow morning so I hope to use this time to check out Tim O’Reilly’s “What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the next generation”, and a few of the others.
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