Web 2.0 and a Blast from the Slow to Adapt Past

13thAug. × ’08

In the earlier days of the internet, companies big and small limited access to the web to a few key employees and frequently did not provide email addresses. That reflex to restrict was born of a combination of two things: the clarity with which businesses recognized potential employee abuse of web surfing and non-business emailing coupled with the inability to grasp the advantage of quickly gathering information and communicating instantly using the same tools.

Most businesses learned how to manage concerns about productivity and resource drains, and employees now routinely use the web and email. In fact, particularly as web services begin to replace networked or desktop office suite applications, most of us couldn’t conduct business at all without web access.

We’re seeing a similar reaction from businesses, particularly larger ones, in response to Web 2.0. Facebook, YouTube, and other social networking apps are switched to the always on position at home for employees in their 20’s and 30’s, but are locked down in the off position at work. But change is taking place, just as it took place in the 90’s with email and web use in general; check out this  article from IT Week.

YouTube is often Web 2.0 non grata. Of course bandwidth is an issue; a bunch of employees watching videos via the web simultaneously could bring internet browsing to a crawl company-wide. But an increasing number of companies and agencies are using YouTube videos for instructional, promotional, and general business communication purposes. Locking YouTube out, whether for bandwidth or productivity concerns (aka screwing around) is a shortsighted reaction. Companies are starting to get past the fear of Web 2.0 unknown. Those that persist in the just-say-no approach are bound to miss out on a competitive advantage.

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