This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Do Web 2.0 tools help personal effectiveness?

I like the idea of this Blog Carnival, even though I have never really figured them out.  WissensWert is running a blog carnival on personal effectiveness as it relates to Web 2.0 tools.  I came upon this via Matthias Melcher's response, Blog Carnival: Effectivity.  If you can read German, feel free to check out the source of the carnival.

1. Using Web 2.0 tools, can I deal with information and knowledge more effectively?

Do the tools make me more effective in relation to information overload? No.  Do the tools give me more options on how and where I deal with that stuff? Sure.  The fact that there are new tools around every corner can be a great thing, or it can be a major effectiveness killer.  When I am in exploration mode, my "information effectiveness" drops, but that's not the purpose.  I'm looking for new tools to lay in my toolbox that help me do something new or better. 

But the tools don't make me more effective.  It is the process in which I am using the tools.  I can have a sheet of paper and a pen and be very effective, or very ineffective.  The question is my process (and my mental state), not the tools I have at hand.

I also like Matthias' note that the use of these tools by other people can bring me a secondary benefit through their filtering of useful tidbits for me.  I don't necessarily have to be out scanning all the primary sources (there are too many anyway).  My larger network of people will surface interesting things, assuming I pay attention.

2. Do productivity and quality of work improve?

It depends.  If I have the processes in place, then yes.  It's the processes that give me the freedom to use my tools in the best way for me (and my colleagues and friends). 

If no process, then it's just endless thrashing as the latest and greatest tool arrives on my doorstep.

3. Do any negative side effects outweigh the advantages of the new work equipment?

"Wow, cool!" works for a while when learning new tools, but if I stay in that discovery mode when I need to be producing, then I lose the benefit.  For a simple example, I still check new RSS feeds, but I find it best to delete them after a week or two if I am not getting any value personally: content is repetitive or uninteresting to me.

4. How does the personal learning process of acquiring the new work practice happen?

As I have hinted above, I have differing modes of operation.  Discovery sends me out testing and trying new things.  But it is in daily operation where the new tools get tested and bent and broken.  And it is in my daily operation where I have to see if these tools fit into what I am doing.  If the tool fits, then it stays in my toolbox.  If not, then it gets dusty and pushed under the workbench fairly quickly.

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