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Web collaboration is the creation and maintenance of a Web portal or a suite of sites that allow interaction of various sorts by users. The number and complexity of interaction methods offered varies from provider to provider.
Two of the most recognizable examples of web collaboration these days are MySpace and YouTube. Both offer repositories for user information, which can then be shared with others, primarily other “members” of the online community. MySpace offers users a place to store text, photos, videos, and other forms of data for all to see. YouTube offers mainly video storage and viewing.
These sites offer web collaboration almost exclusively. Other websites offer collaboration functions as services designed to increase visibility and trust of the company websites themselves. This works both ways, with website users discovering the collaboration functions via the original website, and vice versa.
Web collaboration has a more serious side as well. Businesses use websites or Web-based applications to store and share data, such as database files or entire databases, spreadsheets, reports, financial documents, and even email services. Because these files or databases reside on Web-based services, users can access them from anywhere, not just on their office computers. Such functionality is commonly accompanied by heightened security, so users won’t worry that the files they are storing and sharing via the Web are prime targets for hackers.
Another important feature of web collaboration that is routinely accessed by business users is real-time Web conferencing. Users can sign on to an area of a website at a certain time and be able to interact with other users, either using text only or using audio or perhaps even video functionality. This is collaboration in its truest form, in that the users of web conferencing are collaborating in their use of the Web in order to have that online conference.
Another form of web collaboration that is wildly popular on websites everywhere is the bulletin board or forum. Each one of these is a place for discussion of various topics introduced by the site’s host or users. Some bulletin boards and forums are the busiest sites on the Web.
Bulletin boards and forums are found on websites of all topics. Some of the most active belong to sites dedicated to icons of pop culture, such as movies, TV shows, movie actors, and musical artists. Each and every time a person reads or posts on a bulletin board or forum, he or she is engaging in a form of web collaboration.
The internet is basically one big web collaboration tool. It makes it easy for any person, in any place, doing any task, to share and collaborate with others. That was the original intent of the internet as a matter of fact. Before it got taken over by shopping and pornography, the internet was explicitly designed to connect people and to pool resources. This goal has not been lost, but it has certainly been obscured.
Google Docs is one of my favorite web based programs because it makes it so easy to work on text based projects with other people.
I am a member of a writing club with several people who do not live anywhere close to me. But we all have very similar sensibilities and I love the feedback I get from these guys. We mostly trade writing in Google Doc format so that we can easily edit and share our work. It streamlines the entire process.