Enterprises have begun to embrace the idea of Web 2.0, some more quickly than others, as a way of encouraging collaboration and innovation.
But to a lot of people, it all feels loosey-goosey, and I'm sure there are a lot of corporate managers who would use the current downturn to tighten up dress codes and ban Facebook from the office.
Not to be ageist, but those managers are probably Gen X and older. Gen Y clearly gets the collaboration thing, and get their ego strokes from their communities rather than the next guy up on the corporate food chain. That's probably because they intuit (or have already experienced) the fact that I could be your boss one day and your direct report the next. Things change.
Beyond egos and hierarchies, though, the most important and perhaps least-understood concept about communities is that this is where innovation really takes place.
A lot of people ask me, what do people do on Facebook or LinkedIn? How does it work? What does it do?
They're still living in Web 1.0, where, as Wikinomics' Dan Tapscott notes, "content is king."
Of course, Facebook doesn't "do" anything. It is there for us to do unto it, whatever it is we please.
In a far-ranging dscussion that is mostly about government's reluctance to tap into Web 2.0, Tapscott really nails it when he says that those sites are about "creating a context where people can self-organize to create own value."
Content is still king--but it's the users who are creating the content.
Not only should corporate managers allow workers to use Facebook at the office, they should encourage them to use it, to create groups of common interest, to live there and discover fresh voices (including those of colleagues they barely know from across the cubicle wall or across the country).
The downturn is a reason to do more of this, not less.