After over fours years of posting the FastForward blog has closed. We started in December 2006. I did my last listing of posts recently (see: My Fast Forward Posts for August 2011). We began working with FAST, the search company and then Microsoft acquired them and continued the blog. I have greatly enjoyed the past four plus years writing for it. We are looking into ways to archive the content.
There were a number of farewell posts beginning with Francois Gossieaux writing: “When the conversation shifts – sometimes you just say goodbye.” As he noted the “aim of this blog was to drive and deepen conversation about how today’s companies can use technology to put users in control of information. It was home to the ongoing discussion about Enterprise 2.0 opportunities and challenges.” He adds, “our content has evolved and our initial purpose has been fulfilled with widespread discussion of E2.0 occurring in businesses and organizations of all sizes.”
Rob Paterson added: “So what happened in 4 years of writing for Fast Forward Blog?” He began in July 2007 and asked himself what were all these new tools going to be about? He wrote that he feels good and bad about how his question got answered by life. Most people have made the new media part of their lives. However, in business there has been more adoption of the tools than the culture that goes with them. Large businesses that do not adopt the culture of openness and connectivity that the tools enable will miss much of the opportunity. I certainly agree.
Joe McKendrick asked What Did You Do in the Social Networking Revolution, Daddy? He notes a number of computer technology transformations but then adds that “social media was more than a platform or a new mode of computing — it was a new way of connecting, of doing business, of leading nations, of working, of making friends and renewing friendships.” It was the possibility of a new culture as Rob mentioned. There is great potential to improve the quality of work life. As Andy McAfee recently wrote, enterprise 2.0 is a rare business movement that benefits both workers and management at the same time because it appeals to people need to be connected. McKinsey has shown us some of the financial returns. But you will only really get them if you bring along with culture of connection with the tools as Rob writes.
Jon Husband picked up on this theme with his post, Leading and Managing (Networked) People Must Evolve. Jon quotes Gary Hamel that, “activities will still need to be coordinated, individual efforts aligned, objectives decided upon, knowledge disseminated, and resources allocated, but increasingly this work will be distributed out to the periphery“. This is part of the culture that Rob mentions. Rigid top-down hierarchy needs to step aside and allow for greater networked organizations that allow the all levels to contribute. These will be the winners. While the new tools enable the possibilities, management will have to embrace them to reap the benefits.
I closed with a post that looked at the brighter side of Web 2.0. A survey by Communispace noted that when asked if technology better connections or creates more distance, 72% of all respondents said better connections. They noted with the more technically advanced group (they called them the “tech fast forwards”) 80% sided with this view. This is looking at how people feel about technology in their personal life. We now need research on how these people feel about it in their work life to see if the same positive benefits hold. It is the need for this sense of connection and the culture that supports it that runs through these closing comments. We will all continue to write on our own blogs. Stay tuned.