Web applications are fast-moving toward web 2.0 technologies. Organizations are setting up systems to reap the benefits of this new technology. The reason behind this surge in web 2.0 adoption is that this technology has advantages over its predecessor, web 1.0. This technology is a mash-up of technologies, business strategies, and social trends (Coleman, & Levine, 2008). It is more dynamic and comes with it features that allow users to communicate more interactively giving more user satisfaction. This is true since communication is a very vital aspect of the success of any company. Improvement of communication between employees in an organization brings with it the advantages of higher productivity. This has been achieved greatly in web 2.0. It has rich communication features like blogs, instant messages, and wiki. These tools are very interactive and bring more satisfaction to the users. Companies that began as Web 2.0 businesses will have the advantage since they don’t have the added task of transforming an old business model. The implementation of Web 2.0 is simpler because its development and improvement are done in phases. This is because it is actually the users themselves who add to the system. They are considered co-developers in the world of Web 2.0.
There has been changing in the way people behave with the advent of the Internet. There has been informed activism because people have been able to get information much more easily than in Web 1.0. This being the Information age, there has been a lot of hype in the flow of information thus making more people know their rights. This technology has enlightened people and there have been a lot of social movements recently because of enlightenment from the social tools.
Another impact is that there has been a shift in learning model. There has been the development of online classrooms where students don’t need to go to school anymore because they can register for online education programs and get their certification just like the traditional classroom setup, even better than this (Zervaas 54-67).
There has been a shift in dating where there is a new form of dating which is growing up where partners can be in love even when they are far away. This has removed the boundaries that used to exist before the advent of this technology. Web 2.0 improves communication between people in an organization. The provision of many features and tools like blogs, text messages and short message services makes it a desirable tool of communication.
It is cheap to implement and maintain. Many tools added to the Web site to make it Web 2.0 enabled are available for free. Most of the tools are open source and so the company will pay for programming alone. Web 2.0 enables organizations to harness collective intelligence. This is because users add content from other sites as they discover them. They link the site to these other sites. They also add new content to the site.
The other advantage of Web 2.0 is that most of the technologies used are not platform-specific. They are able to interoperate with other platforms. This gives them wider use because they can be deployed in a wide range of applications. Most of the modules and tools are lightweight which gives the advantage that they can be mashed up together and used in the same application without bringing compatibility issues. It also enables more management of data in the database which gets richer every day. The data in the database are added daily by the users (Lystra, Damiani, & Pablos 65-69). This is because users are given the freedom to add content to the database as they please.
The embracing of this technology has been very high because its use has received a great boost from the young generation. The young generation has embraced this technology and they use it in their networking. Most of the college students have formed groups in these social networking tools that have proved to be very helpful in their studies. What is more, even the workplace work procedures are changing because companies are taking advantage of this technology to bring about a change in communication where the use of Web 2.0 communication revolutionized the way employees communicate eradicating the need to use telephone or e-mail.
Web 2.0 tools
Today, it is hard or almost impossible to have a world without chatting, thanks to social tools. Facebook is the leading in this area. It has a chat feature where people can communicate one-on-one with each other. This is faster than e-mail because with this, you get an instant answer to your problem with the person you are chatting with. This feature has been very instrumental to companies where it has helped boost the communication between employees. The communication department and the companies, in general, have managed to reduce costs by the use of chat services that are common with many social tools (Shuen, 151-152).
This is another tool that has been of great importance to communication. This is a tool where one builds a network of friends. Every time one posts something to the space, it will be communicated to the other people automatically. This is a very important tool to people who are marketing some product. If someone wants to market the features of some product, they will just post the features of the said product on the wall and all the people following them will get this post and will react to it.
LinkedIn is another social tool that has been used to connect people. Just like Twitter, someone will create a lead where all the people interested will follow them. This social tool is very common with those looking for leads in job opportunities. They will inform the members of the new opportunities that are their ad would like them to explore the opportunity (Safko, & Brake 45-67). Every time there is someone who wants to say something to the group members, he will just post this to the list and everyone will be notified.
Web 2.0 and blogging
Blogging has been the domestic name in the recent years. There has been preference for this by most companies as a mode of passing ideas to their employees. It is gaining popularity in the recent years, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies.
Blogging is a very good tool that provides two-way Web-based communication capability. This is achieved when a blogger, or writer, posts an item on the Web and readers or users will post their comments on the same. Users will post comments thus providing a way of getting views from different people over a matter. These blogs have a format similar to that of a journal and they are posted in a reverse order based on the date they were posted. These posts can contain text files, videos, images and even links to other sites. The company will benefit from this when the posts and the technology of Web 2.0 are used to convey information. Most of the blogs on the Internet today are of textual nature while the rest are video to cater for photographs posted using today’s sophisticated mobile phones. Companies which have their own blogs, referred to as private blogs, are able to provide employees with a very efficient way of real-time communication. This capability is provided through liveblogging. This will bring more usability within our organization. This channel of communication, blogging, has other features which are desirable to any company seeking to improve their communication. The features that come with blogs are much different from other communication channels like e-mail and instant messaging services. If these tools were to be implemented outside the Web 2.0 framework, it would be very expensive to the company. With blogging, the costs of implementing these interactive communication tools have been reduced. What the company needs to do is to pay for enough bandwidth for their Internet connection. This is much less when compared to installing complicated systems (Condie, & Kay 54-62). Blogging is much receptive to the users because they provide an open way of communication unlike the traditional telephone system where someone has to follow some protocol when addressing some callers. Blogs outdo emails because comments are written in a freestyle giving users the freedom of sharing their views without fear of intimidation.
Another advantage of blogging is that blogging can link to other blog posts, thus blogs can travel from site to site. Employees will always be looking for the latest posts to comment and they can have other links directed to other blogs they are interested in from other sites. With these links, people with the same interest will be brought together and will help to form an informative online community.
Blogging will provide the ease of searching for articles in our consulting company. This is because it has features where it will enable our employees to search for older posts using either subject or author. This will improve relationships in the company because blogs written by managing directors or those with higher ranks in the company will be given good addressing and seriousness they deserve. It will be easy to achieve this because what the user needs to do is to search for blog posts according to the author’s criteria and it will be displayed with minimal time.
Another characteristic of blogging is that of syndication. If a user subscribes to a blog, they will know the time it was updated thus saving organizations time that could otherwise be used to search for them. Users can subscribe to several blogs and their updates will be posted on their personal home pages or email inbox.
It is clear from this that blogging will be a good investment to the company because communication will be improved. A community of users will be developed which will be easy to liaise with blogging.
Web 2.0 and education
With Web 2.0, the network itself is the platform for learning. There has been the shift in paradigms. With these technologies, learning takes place anywhere. The student learns without regard to their demographic locations. With Web 2.0, the network is the platform and learning will take place any place in the network. The student has the choice to organize his/her own learning environment. In this environment, the student will organize the resources which are located anywhere on the web. This brings out a new paradigm in learning where the eLearning course is not much similar to a virtual space like virtual campus or virtual classroom but offers a space that is used for communication between the students, and tutors. On top of this, it also offers students and professors the resources that are required to help them to improve their own personal learning environments. The technologies are being further improved so that there will be more uses of it. There is development so that we have more online exams away from the conventional classroom exams where students are required to do their exams from the confines of their classrooms. This has been made possible by making sure that there are security measures to keep hackers at bay. The use of online exams to gauge the performance of students was dreaded at first due to the increase in computer fraud. With students from diverse places and geographical locations on the increase, it is becoming economical to use Web 2.0 technologies to offer learning, certification and communication for students.
Another paradigm shift with Web 2.0 is that of collective intelligence. With this, there is the social construction of knowledge. With traditional learning paradigm, emphasis was on author concept. This concept is related to literacy age, which was not valid even in the age of spoken communication alone (Hazari, Alexa, & Moreland 67-68). The concept of a specific author is under discussion in the cyber age. On colleges and university campuses, the use of wikis has come to be accepted as long as they have a clearly identified author. Although there is this paradigm shift, people still consider information without authors as unreliable. In traditional courses control on documents is normally based on authority. This is not the case with Web 2.0 where the high number of contributions that compensate individual errors provides the control. With high levels of control in Web 2.0, it is easier to control the authenticity of documents because many people read the documents and therefore control and correct the errors collectively. Students are able to control the rate of their learning at all times. They are able to create their world, references, time, and even their own community of students (Coleman, & Levine 20-34). Students are empowered to learn which in effect nurtures and enhances their self-motivation to learn other new content from other students and other Web content sites. They also have flexible roles. They are sometimes students and sometimes they offer support for their various groups. This offers a good collaboration between students.
Another shift in Web 2.0 learning for students is that with this new shift, there are now varied learning options which range from personal digital assistants, iPods, and computers. What is more, with the coming up of powerful mobile phones, it is now possible to have learning material from mobile phones. The availability to choose between several devices to work on learning tasks is not a relevant question since it is more of a technical question. This implies that learning takes place every time when someone is traveling, walking, and the list is endless. Electronic courses, that is, eLearning courses seem to take the concept of studying any place and at any time but this is not usually the case. In learning traditional setting there is time for doing the various activities; time to study and time to do other activities. With networking technologies and Web 2.0, the difference between study times and time to do other activities is not well differentiated. This is more of a question between formal and non-formal education. This will come out more clearly as Web 2.0 technologies are developed further. If this discrete nature of traditional learning is done away with Web 2.0, this will therefore mean that learning and doing other things will be done simultaneously, just like children do. All this has been made possible because there are devices that aid in communication for students. Students are able to access these devices anywhere. With this setup, someone can learn from any place.
The last paradigm shift is that of increase in the user experience richness. This is made possible because they learn from peers. A key aspect of the advent of Web 2.0 learning is peer-to-peer learning. This has given rise to terms like peer review, and peer tutoring. With traditional paradigm, there is a clear difference between a professor and a student. Likewise, in Web 1.0, there is a difference between an expert and a novice. With Web 2.0, the difference is eradicated and thus it is more subtle. This is not true for those courses which come with pages and pages of documents. With Web 2.0, rather than the content being composed, organized and then packaged, the eLearning content is sought of syndicated, becoming more like a blog, podcast or a post. There is more emphasis on community, sharing, and exchange of ideas in Web 2.0. Learners want to gauge their know-how and want to know if they know something. This portrays a give and takes atmosphere, collaboration and connections with others. There is more emphasis on interaction between learners and social interaction is part of living in the twenty-first century. Web 2.0 has enabled collaboration and collective handling of projects. With this trend, more web forums have been created that will enable students to discuss technical issues as they interact with each other. Research shows that there are many ways in which learners can be motivated. There are many motivational principles that have been addressed in networking technologies which include Mocha, Chinswing, Mixxer, Scrapblog, and VoiceThreads.
Web 2.0 and e-commerce
There are many applications being developed to integrate with Web 2.0 technologies. The traditional way of doing some other things like banking will soon be phased out to accommodate the coming Web-based applications. The future use of the Internet will be more geared toward e-commerce applications like online banking and online shopping (Clarysse, Mosey, & Lambrecht 23-45). It is evident that more and more people are doing their shopping online. There are various reasons that people prefer online shopping which include better discounts, convenience of not having to leave your home, there is better range of products in this kind of shopping. There are other benefits like getting access to a large collection of products, allowing maximum research and offers free shipping offers, and sales. It is clear and evident that e-commerce is here to stay especially with the use of Web 2.0 technologies; the experience of it is going to get better by the day. It will be better than shopping in the real retail stores. The convenience of shopping online is that you get the full description of the item to be purchased unlike the case of retail shops where even the attendants have scanty details of the items that are sold. In online shopping you can write an email to the company enquiring more about the product. Though some people argue that the online form of online shopping lacks emotional aspects, the advantages still outweigh the disadvantages.
The Internet will also see more banks going online. Online banking will be more pronounced in future which will enable many businessmen and women to do their businesses online. With the coming up of the online businesses, it is now imperative that banks should provide more avenues to access financial services on the Internet. There is the issue of security as an issue to be considered while all these are being considered by banks. Most small banks are skeptical about the safety of their clients when they go online in their banking transactions. There are agents like paypal.com which have come up with services to act on behalf of processing transactions for most of the customers who do their businesses online.
Web 2.0 and dating: Are we real?
With the increased use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, there is functionality added to them to make them more interactive. The question arises then, is the user really what he/she says is? When someone says they are having lunch at a certain time of the day, how can this be authenticated? It is common these days to look at someone who says in her profile that they like traveling yet in the real sense they have not gone beyond their districts. Most of the likes/dislikes for most Internet users are an imitation of their favorite celebrities. It is hard to know the real tastes and preferences most of the Internet users (Casarez et al 65). With much publicity of Internet presence, many users go there not because they have something special to do but just because they are attracted by their celebrities. They will also want to imitate what these celebrities are doing.
With the coming up of online dating sites, this has become a major issue of concern. It is hard to know the real character of someone. Someone will indicate in their profile that they are studying in a certain prestigious university and yet in the real sense they are not students. Most people are doing this to get the mercy of the mates they are pursuing. This is so because on the other hand the mate who is being pursued will provide very stringent requirements for anyone willing to court him/her. Most of the time, people are not what they say they are. There are social sites that have come up handling relationships between mates who are miles apart. The sites have functionality where someone will add their details including the mate they are interested in. It is through this that cheating has been common on the Internet.
There is also the issue of fraud that has been common in the cyberworld. Many cases have been reported concerning computer fraud on the Internet. Some people will take advantage of the feelings of others and seek sympathy from them, especially sympathies attached to money. Two people could be dating online but one of them could be a fraudster waiting for the right time to strike. The fraudster could claim that he/she wants some money from the other mate to clear some transaction pending (Candace 45). On replying to this need in the affirmative, the relationship is over and the fraudster will have got whatever he/she wanted from the other mate.
Some institutions are not real which are not real. An online institution could be publicized to fleece the applicants of their hard-earned cash. This is happening to the unsuspecting career people who are keen on advancing their education and training. With online training hype, they will usually not want classes that will not interrupt their studies.
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