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The Impact of Web 2.0 on the Future of Your Business

from: Internet Exposed Files

There is no denying that Web 2.0 is a powerful tool for a host of applications. Education, government and business use it daily. Where once a client would come to a company for a product, meet with the staff, and then come back to see its progress and offer comments that doesn’t have to happen any more. With video conferencing, emails etc a client can get daily updates as to how their product is developing. For that matter, people are no longer limited to making use of a local firm. If the best company to create your product is half a world away – what of it? Web 2.0 allows for easy communication between people, no matter where they are.

Yet, you have to wonder, where will this eventually lead?

Already employees have the ability to telecommute; they can sit at home – in their bathrobe, if they like – do their work, and then email it in to their boss and/or client. So, what does that mean for the employee, the company, and the nation as a whole? Okay, employees that telecommute don’t drive. That means fewer cars on the road, less demand for gas, oil, and anything related to vehicles. That is good for the environment, but what about business at the local gas stations? What about auto dealerships? Fewer people in offices means companies need less floor space; will more office buildings have empty offices? What about the restaurants that feed office workers; will their business suffer? If businesses move out of the city, what does that do to the tax base for cities and states?

Then there is the whole nature of the employee-employer relationship. If someone works from home and essentially never goes in to an office, how much loyalty will they feel toward an employer? If interactions with their co-workers are limited to emails, online chats, and video interactions, just how loyal will the employee be to a company? Some people thrive on and relish the concept of direct personal interaction. Working with people via web contacts is not all that conducive to that kind of relationship. Yet, other people are rather quiet and introverted; public speaking is intimidating to them. Being able to sit at home and write email or chat via IM is very liberating for them. Will different kinds of personalities move to the forefront of the business world? If changing jobs is as simple as logging on to a different website, will employees change jobs like they change their socks?

For that matter, if you are working from home, what sort of benefits can you reasonably expect from your employer? Will you even earn sick time and personal time? Will vacations become virtually non-existent? After all, so long as your work gets done and you send it in, does it matter if you are in your home, on a cruise ship, or in a vacation cottage?

Web 2.0 makes all of this possible. Now, for the time being, the world of online commerce and telecommuting are not the dominant forms of business. Yet, they do represent billions in revenue annually, and will only continue to grow. Web 2.0 offers enormous opportunities for the future, but is also a double-edged sword; we must consider carefully where it will take us.

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