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Collaboration and Communication (TECH 621)

Last week, we examine the idea of collaboration and communication relative to the social media world. In class we were divided up into two different groups, one representing social software and the other representing groupware.

We were then told to identify what each of these are and their characteristics, and came up with the following ideas.

Groupware is a tool used to assist groups of users to achieve a goal, whether that goal be communication, coordination, or collaboration. While we are in the Web 2.0 age, groupware was formed well before Web 2.0, Web 1.0 if you prefer to call it. It seems to be “we” focused, as in “we need to accomplish a task.” Some examples of there programs include MS Exchange, email, calendars, etc.

Groupware is implemented from the top-down, meaning it is the organization who imposes it on the workers. This is usually for productivity reasons, but other reasons could be involved, such as, “my boss wants to make my life harder” or “the company thinks it’s good for the company” just to name a few (Hopefully you caught my Better Off Ted reference).

Social Software, on-the-other-hand, is software or services that support, extend, or derive added value from human social behavior. Some of these sites include Facebook (obviously) and various other social-network[ing] sites. Social software emerged after Web 2.0 and is focused on participation more than collaboration. It has the opposite view of groupware, as it is seen as “me” focused and focused primarily on content.

So now the real question, is groupware a part of social software or vice versa? I would tend to say that social software emerged from groupware. Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. Communication with co-workers to communication with everyone. Other evolutions can be seen if you look into it further, but those are the main two which help to prove my point (very scientific huh?).


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