Are Web 2.0 and social networking technologies the next “great app” in the field of OD to enable self-organizing systems and to build better working relationships in the organization?
If I were a betting man, I would bet that half of the attendees at this year’s OD Network conference would click “Delete” on their email application if this showed up in their mailbox. The other half (or less?) would be intrigued and hit the “scroll down” button to read more. Are we at the “cutting edge” of OD by talking about the role of Web 2.0 technologies instead of talking about “authenticity”, “power and affiliation needs”, or “process facilitation”? Or are we so far off base in introducing this vernacular into the lexicon of OD professionals that we will see it fall off the radar screen of OD and into the abyss of other “flash in the pan” concepts?
Many OD professionals can’t tell you the difference between a “blog” and a “blob”. Or a “Tweet” from a “Twit”. But by now, it’s safe to say that most OD folks know “Google” and “Yahoo”. So what about these social networking apps like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others? Surely, most OD professionals have at least begun to recognize the value of having a presence on LinkedIn, as it is the leading professional networking application out there. It’s a great way to reconnect with colleagues, former college classmates, etc., and find out what everyone’s been up to, right?
And most folks who have been on Facebook or MySpace will tell you that these can afford great opportunities to keep in touch with family and friends, to reconnect for high school reunions, or to share family photo albums of last summer’s vacation. And most folks will have had the opportunity to use one of the many “instant messaging” applications for real-time communication with co-workers and friends.
But do these tools, and the use of these tools, need a close look in terms of the power they wield in aiding self-organizing systems? Some would say you should pick up the phone and talk to your co-worker, rather than “IM” them, but what if your co-worker is across the world, working on a software design problem, and happens to notice that you’re online and can probably answer a quick question? (Saves the embarrassment of waking your colleague up at midnight over what might seem like a trivial question). Are there “rules” or “best practices” that need to be developed for using Web 2.0 apps effectively? What about the questions of leadership, authenticity, power, authority, transparency, feedback, and trust while using Web 2.0? How DOES emotionally laden content get conveyed and filtered in a blog about healthcare reform, politics, or downsizing the company?
Click below to add your comments. We recognize that many of you may be reading this while at the OD Network Conference; now is the time for this conversation. See Michael Liskin’s post on the potential for this conference to become a tipping point for the introduction of web 2.0 into our field.