Web 2.0 social software and collaboration tools have drastically changed the way I work and learn. Whether it is social networking tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter or information sharing tools like blogs and wikis, access to information and lessons learned have never been easier to find. I have worked at the same place for 13 years and had a very limited network until I started using these tools. Now I am collaborating with smart people all over the world. I recently was contacted via Twitter to participate at the Gartner & SOA Consortium “User Panel: Measuring the Value of SOA”. This opportunity never would have occurred if I had not taken advantage of Web 2.0 technologies.
What I am discovering is that these technologies are still very foreign to many people in the industry. Others are aware of the technologies but have written them off as child's play and see no value in them. Meanwhile, the world is changing and the way people communicate is radically different due to these technologies. So I have been wondering out loud why so many people are in the dark? Here are the conclusions that I came up with.
- Some people see work as a 9-5 necessary evil and are not motivated to learn new skills and keep current with technology.
- Some people (especially us old timers) are resistant to change. They insist on using the methods that have worked for them for the last 20 years.
- Some people fear change. These people are comfortable with the way things are and fear becoming obsolete if their daily routine changes.
Whether I am interviewing existing employees to build a new team or potential new hires from outside the company, I now try to see how aware they are of how the web is changing the way information is shared. Here are some of the things I might ask:
- How do you keep current with technology?
- What tools do you use to collaborate?
- How would you go about researching how to implement SOA?
- What was the topic of the last technology article you read?
- What is one of the most exciting new tools on the web today?
I remember when I first stumbled across Twitter a year ago. I just couldn't understand the value. As time went by I noticed more people in my network were becoming excited about it. I could have dug my heals in and said, "I have managed to survive all of these years without it" and just ignored it. Instead, I created an account and started using it. At first it seemed like a waste of time but as I started following the right people my eyes opened to a whole new world of communicating. Now I can't live without it.
So my point to all of this is if you are in a position to put together a new team or hire new people, do you want people who aren't ready and/or willing to change the way they work or do you want people who are comfortable adapting to new ways of thinking? A quick way to gain insight into which side of the fence these people sit on is to test their Web 2.0 knowledge. If they can tell you more about their favorite reality show then they can about Web 2.0, move on to the next candidate!