I’m not just surfing the net…I am legitmately being productive… with web 2.0!

Web 2.0 = Greater productivity

This week I will be discussing how I have harnessed web 2.0 in my every day life to make me a more productive human being!

Let’s take for example that horrid, horrid combination of words “Group” & “meetings” *shudder* Yes, they are painful, but also unfortunately a necessary evil at universities around the world.  What if we didn’t have to meet up every week though? What if it was possible for all group members to work on the same document, at the same time, in the same place, without leaving their bedrooms (or family rooms, or cars, or boats). It isn’t that long ago that this would have been merely fanciful daydreaming but, through the utilisation of web 2.0 applications like dropbox  and Skype, we are able to do just that!

Drop box is far more than just an application that allows you to share documents. It is cloud hosted space that is yours, for free. I have downloaded the optional application that runs in windows (with a windows explorer feel) but you can use it via any web browser, or even download the app for android or iOS. When you sign up you are allocated 2GB but you can earn more space by simply spreading the word and referring your friends.  Drop box allows me to invite friends to share folders and all associated content (music, videos, pics, games, any data) and notifies me when an item is added or altered in one of my shared folders. I have used dropbox for every group assignment I have ever submitted and saved myself countless unnecessary trips to university and houses of other group members. I cannot rate this application highly enough!

Ok, so you have the document thing sorted but there are still issues you’d prefer to sort out face to face. Not a problem, use Skype. With a $20 dollar webcam and any microphone and speakers your computer is transformed into a fully fledged video conferencing suite. Through skype you can see one, or multiple contacts and communicate in  a way that resembles actually being in the same room. I relied very heavily on skype for preparation for a consulting competition I entered last semester, and won. I  know that without it we would not have had the chance to practice as a team nearly as often.

As I inserted this picture I thought to myself “really?, do I really need to tell people about this?” I think that in itself is true testament to face book’s place at the top of the social networking tree for most users. Officially it is rated as the number one site by nearly everyone you can think of including the washington post. But why? I have to admit I was among the slow adopters, I have never really been the type of person to do something just because everyone else was doing it. I eventually got a Facebook account in mid 2010 and wondered what had taken me so long. I now have a large network that I communicate with regularly. I keep track of University group assignments through the groups feature, I keep in contact with many old friends that otherwise would not be part of my life, and have actually gained employment through a friend of a friend that I met for the first time through face book. I am able to establish what people are up to in their lives by scanning the facebook feed and if I want to announce something I have an instant audience. It is basically every friend you have ever had at a glance, and that is why I love it.

RSS Readers

 

Web 2.0 tools and applications provide a plethora of information, sometimes too much to get through in the time I have to scan the different networks I am connected to. To solve this problem I use an RSS reader and you can read about those here. The way I look at my RSS feed is like a filter, I am able to tag what I am interested in and get that information only. I might be interested to know if a work colleague has joined another network via linkedin but care little about Kate baking a cake on the weekend. It really is that simple and saves me a lot of time.

 

The Instant Messengers

For me there has really only ever been two, first ICQ and then later, much later MSN (and of course facebook chat). ICQ was popular in the United States and Europe in the early 2000’s but it’s popularity slowly tapered off because it was not packaged with windows. Personally, I think it was a better instant messaging tool than the MSN messenger of it’s day – do any of you remember the ‘oh oh’ ICQ notification sound? I utilise instant messengers because they allow for no fuss, limited contact list communication and I find these work best when I am strapped for time or want to contact someone specific, if and only if they are online at that moment.  You have set people that you have invited to become part of your lists and are notified when they are online and can chat . It’s simple, it’s old school and it’s effective. In my opinion these relatively basic tools paved the way for more complex social networking like Facebook, Skype and dropbox.

I increase my productivity through being aware!

Not everyone likes the same things. I am sure we can agree there, so in your group of friends, your university peers, even your work colleagues you will notice that some people use some web 2.0 tools and applications that others would not even consider downloading. Why? … Why is winter cold? People like different things so I make myself available to everyone. I keep up-to-date with what is out there, I know what people use, and I know what I should have installed to connect with the people and places I want to connect with.

Without out web 2.0 tools like those listed above  there is little doubt in my mind that I would have studied something other than IT. It was that social overlap, that feeling of accomplishment, building something, creating something, sharing something that spawned my love of everything ICT. Without utilising web 2.0 tools throuought my university career I would have had to approach assignments in a very different fashion and have no doubt that my GPA would be far less impressive.

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9 thoughts on “I’m not just surfing the net…I am legitmately being productive… with web 2.0!

  1. Hi Adam,

    I’ve known that Skype has functionality for multiple hosts making a group meeting but I’ve never tried, good to hear that I have the option if it comes down to it in my groups!

    Also ICQ messenger? You must be pretty old school if I haven’t ever used it! I started out on MSN Messenger haha.

    • You should definitely try it out Adam, you might find it becomes extremely useful when you find yourself doing the capstone project.

      If you commonly use video conferencing / Internet telephone software do you ever experiment with web 2.0 apps other than skype?

  2. The ICQ ‘oh oh’ incoming message tone is still ringing in my head. It is interesting to see how technology evolved throughout the years and how it is being adopted by organisations. Now at work, we are using Office Communicator. In addition, with web conferencing tools such as Webex, GoToMeeting, etc, we don’t even need to be in the same physical location to hold a meeting.

    I agree with you that we all have different preferences, thus there are many tools out there that cater for all these different preferences. This is like the never ending Apple VS Android (or the rest of the world) debate. Let’s not go there, but you’re right in saying we are relying on these tools to increase productivity.

    • Hey Karen,

      Thanks for your reply. I am glad that someone else remembers the “oh, oh” I think I first used that program in 1998 when I was super young. Funnily enough I still remember my ICQ number 2257601… didn’t they end up going to hundreds of millions?

      We also use Go2Meeting and WebEx at work. To be honest I much prefer either Go2Meeting or TeamViewer. WebEx is often laggy and for the same sort of technology and performance as the others I think it’s overpriced because it is ‘Cisco’. Don’t get me wrong, Cisco stuff is super impressive but if it’s an application that offers zero benefits to it’s competitors I don’t think is worth the extra cash.

      Do you ever deal with any clients that still want to have tele-conferences and think that they are super organised and on the forefront of technology. Do you ever think to yourself why on earth are you having teleconferences when you can do it via skype or even facebook or msn? Much easier, no lag, no not understanding someone because they have had a big night the night before or any of the other plethora of common occurances over antiquated phonelines.

      And yeah, it has been very interesting and kinda exciting watching technology slowly become involved in every aspect of society when it used to be limited strictly to those in the know and specific elite niches in the work place

      • Hi Adam,

        Speaking of ICQ number, a friend of mine managed to sell his ‘6-digit’ number in eBay a decade ago. I tried selling my (7-digit) number 2 years later, but wasn’t successful. ICQ was almost ‘dead’ by then. It’s good that ‘modern’ apps used alphanumeric user names instead of an incremental system generated number. Otherwise, it will be a BIG problem for us to remember our usernames for all different accounts!

        I think teleconference and even skype is considered more ‘formal/professional’ compared to Facebook or MSN. I have heard of organisations that ban the use of Facebook and MSN for personal use as it was seen as decreasing employee productivity. I guess the use of social networking at work vs productivity is still a debatable topic, depending on where you stand.

  3. First of all i’d like to say ICQ messenger, wow man you are old school.
    Aside from that i found this too be a very insightful post on the already solidified social networking and cloud based systems made available to us, for free, that can certainly make the life of any student much, much easier.

    I can say from my own experiences that drop box is a dead set lifesaver when collaborating materials for a group assignment.

    I must admit however, whilst i do agree that Facebook is certainly a more than viable way of being productive, most humans don’t have the attention span to use it that way.

    Finally, just to be clever. Your analogy of “why is the winter cold”.
    Our Winters are cold because the earth’s orbit is slightly elliptical and our earth orbits around the sun at an angle. This angle makes it so some parts of the earth are farther from the sun, therefore giving the light / warmth from the sun a longer distance to traverse and therefore making certain parts of the earth colder.

  4. Hey Adam!
    I smiled when I saw you mentioned ICQ. I was a hardcore user when it was at its hottest 🙂 I was actually not aware that ICQ is still available. Did you use IRC as well?

    ..and yes there is a lot of different web 2.0 tools out there. Those you mentioned in this post are definitely some of the best. One tool that is not mention though is Google Docs, which I strongly recommend as an excellent web 2.0 tool. Cheers!

  5. Hi Adam,

    1. ICQ messenger!!! Wow, you still remember, that was like ages.
    2. Dropbox is like a lifesaver for most of us especially when it comes to doing group assignment. Imagine those days before Dropbox was created, most of us were frustrated with consolidating each and every’s work.
    3. Skype is another tool which I use almost everyday. Normally for conferencing with my close friends, colleagues, future employers or family. As what you have mentioned above, it can be used to host video conference with your team members. But the downside is internet connection.

  6. My life has never been the same ever since someone introduced me to dropbox. I used to email all my documents to myself before so I’d have a backup somewhere on the internet. It has saved my life so much and made my workflow so much smoother because I don’t have to worry about losing files.

    Skype conferencing is also extremely useful. I have used it multiple times with online conferences with my Uni groups. Especially when everyone is too lazy to go to University to Have a proper meeting, it works just fine!

    Great blog posts, love the use of the pictures.

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