A to Z of Web 2.0 for Social Change: C

C for Collaboration: which is the teamwork for a common goal. It’s the structured process of sharing of planning, making decisions, solving problems, working together cooperatively.

The Internet offers great tools for online collaboration, and the Web 2.0 is a natural platform for efficient and effective online collaboration.

Online Collaboration connects distributed teams and makes it easier for team members to communicate, share information and files and to work together.

Online collaboration has many benefits:

Save time and money because it offers a better way to handle communication and information sharing.

Improve synergy between team members and organization departments.

Increase productivity and creativity by leveraging the collective knowledge and intelligence of team members.

Adopting Online Collaboration:

For an effective online collaboration, your organization needs more than the tools. Although, these tools will optimize the workflow of your staff and save their time, adopting change is not always an easy and smooth process.

Today, there are professionals and companies specialized in change management.

However, the following tips might make it easier to adopt online collaboration in your organization:

• Don’t force it on your staff, let them experiment with the tools and discover their ways in.

• Set a clear purpose for your collaboration efforts.

• Work with champions – employees excited and interested in change- this will make it easier than working on it by yourself.

• Choose easy to use tools.

Online Collaboration tools:

There are many online collaboration tools that range from instant messengers, ip telephony like skype, different web conference applications, to file sharing solutions, Wikis and advanced solutions like Google Applications, Zoho and Basecamp among others.

These tools offer a centralized online workplace that is accessible from anywhere. Some of their basic features are:

1. Documents repository for sharing files, with a real time sharing access.
2. Discussion forum and chat to simplify and record communication.
3. Milestones, Tasks and To-Do lists.
4. Shared Calendar.

We will talk in more details about each of these tools in the upcoming posts. For now, you can:

o Start your own Wiki on www.wikispaces.com

o Signup for a free Zoho Projects account : www.zoho.com

o Check the Google Applications for organizations : www.google.com/a

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SMEX is a registered Lebanese NGO that works to advance self-regulating information societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

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