Web 2.0 in the workplace

David, who works in the University Research Office, posted this 26 minute video on his blog. It’s a useful overview of how online social media might be used in the workplace (and, by extension, within the HE institution).

I can attest to some of the benefits outlined in the video. In my previous work at Amnesty International, we used Confluence, an open source enterprise wiki that also includes blogging tools, tagging, commenting and meta-searching across disparate wiki spaces.

I used Confluence for managing formal project documentation, updating team members on the outcomes from meetings, providing online help and support documentation, note-taking and bookmarking useful external resources. As a wiki, it was useful for drafting documentation and inviting others (from around the world) to contribute and comment. Other staff could also subscribe to RSS feeds and receive email alerts when pages they were interested in were updated. As a result, I’m currently looking at how Confluence might be useful to project teams here at the university.

One of the difficulties staff had with using the wiki was the transition from writing in MS Word to writing directly to the wiki. To begin with, staff would write in Word and then upload documents to the wiki, which is a very unproductive way of working. Fortunately, Confluence can export to Word, PDF and other formats, so that documents created in Confluence could be ‘taken’ from the wiki and used elsewhere. The only other issue I recall was that the wiki was seen as yet another application to login to, but this problem eased as more staff used Confluence and other Intranet applications for their own work and were permanently logged into the Intranet each day, anyway.

4 Replies to “Web 2.0 in the workplace”

  1. Another online note-taking/wiki application you might wanna try out is Springnote (http://springnote.com/en). It’s a free hosted service with 2GB of file storage. On top of that, it comes with an easy wysiwyg editor – no need to know markup at all. Just like Confluence, it has search, tagging, page categorization/hierarchy, and file exporting. It’s already been covery by many famous media entities, like Lifehacker, ReadWriteWeb, and WebWorkerDaily. Definitely worth a look!

  2. Springnote has some nice features but it’s not as mature a product as Confluence nor aimed at enterprise use. Judging from the traffic on its blog and forums, I wonder how many people are actually using it (the English version, anyway). It’s also a hosted service that I would be concerned about entrusting data to and although it has an API and open source WYSIWYG editor, it’s not a product you can download or even license to use on your own server. Not that that is really an issue, these days, but their FAQ on “What happens if the Springnote service goes down permanently?” doesn’t fill me with confidence. It looks like it has lots of potential though but given that there are lots of hosted wiki businesses around, I wouldn’t recommend it for our use at this time.

  3. (First, a little disclaimer: I’m associated with Springnote. Just to clarify!)

    Hey Joss. Thanks for your interests in Springnote.

    Not that this is a forum or anything, but just to answer some of your concerns,
    1. Springnote is run by a huge company named NCSoft, one of the largest game makers in the world with an annual revenue of around $400M. Currently, they don’t have any plans to let it go down at least for a long long time.
    2. The installable version has always been on the radar and you might see it sometime relatively soon.
    3. Springnote is currently through a major reconstruction so you’ll probably find its better version in the meantime; we’re hoping more traffic will soon follow.

    As you mentioned, Springnote might not be “quite there” just yet, but it’s slowly coming around. If you can keep your eyes on it, it’ll be really appreciated.


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