Free Collaborative Online Tools (Trust Not Included)
Author: Michelle Kowalsky
It’s tough to use a collaborative tool with folks you don’t know well. . .or don’t trust. Whether you’re creating a PBWiki or writing on a Writely document or trying to post data on a Google spreadsheet document or on iRows, the process is the same. You post your info. Someone else posts their info. You effectively sway to the music in time.
But then, you correct a typo on their part of the info; they delete a word of yours. Soon you’re both waving the proverbial sickle in a wheatfield. . .chopping off dead chaff with wide sweeps high and low. Soon the document is no longer the one either of you intended. What may be the result of a series of many compromises (or poor online interpersonal skills!) may not in actuality be a document of any usefulness at all.
This is where the features of reputation management like those on Wikipedia or eBay come in. . .many, many people post their info and the truth tends to surface naturally. When only a small group of people keep changing the figures on the business report, it can just as often be a power struggle. Collaborative online tools still work best for me when they have, ironically, a face-to-face component.