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Collaboration in the Digital Age


Remember the days when group projects consisted of four or five people huddled over mountains of books, whispering in urgent tones to one another in the back corner of the library? Or afternoons spent organizing and fitting a meeting into everyone’s schedule in order to get the work done? In the business world today, any type of collaboration is almost always done digitally, according to the University of Wisconsin. Thanks to the help of videoconferencing and emails you can be literally anywhere in the world and still manage to get work done no matter what the weather, your social schedule or the traffic are like.

The fundamental key to collaborative efforts is communication, according to Forbes. This is where technology enters the picture. By providing new and exciting platforms for communication among people, the Internet and technology in general are breaking down the walls that had stopped collaborative efforts from occurring between great minds all over the world. It’s not only collaborations among companies that are benefiting from these new platforms, but group projects among students, musicians from different backgrounds coming together over a project and, in fact, anyone with a shared vested interest in a common subject or goal. Here are some of the different types of digital collaboration projects that may be suited to your needs.

For Students

Google Drive is a handy way to share documents and track changes made by other people. It is particularly useful when editing a report or an article, as the writer can then see and track the changes to their article made by the editor. It’s free and is accessed primarily through your Google account, but you can set it up for another email account such as Yahoo or Hotmail.

Dropbox is another file-sharing system. In fact, it is the original file-sharing system. By putting all your documents into a “box,” whatever is in the box can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as the user has an Internet connection. This can be very handy because then you don’t have to carry around your backup storage everywhere you go, and if you need something you can just pull it up from your Dropbox.

For Artists and Musicians

Artlog is a website designed specifically to connect artists with artists and art-lovers with the art they love, according to Lab for Culture. By building your own portfolio, you can show off what you’ve done and connect to others who share similar interests and tastes.

Humble Voice is an online artist community that allows members to share their work with others and provides a network to build on and connect to other artists. It has six main sections including music, art, photography and video.

Indaba Music is an online company that provides a music collaboration platform for musicians to promote their music and form new projects with other musicians.

For Business People

Blue Jeans is probably the only business site that bears mentioning. The ease of use of the interface makes this the site to go to when setting up videoconferencing among businesses. Smooth and easy to use, this website allows you to connect with anyone anywhere. By using a multitude of platforms, the Blue Jeans Network makes it easy to connect with business people regardless of what system they might be using.

Advantages of Doing it Digitally

Collaborating, sharing ideas and working together digitally is fast becoming a commonplace as the world becomes more inter-connected through the Internet. All the aforementioned sites have the following advantages, according to the BBC:

  • You can meet up with anyone anywhere in the world as long as everyone has an Internet connection. Travel costs would be reduced.
  • Files, notes and pictures can be shared instantaneously among the attendees of the meeting.
  • Since everything happens in the cloud, there is no additional hardware required. Everything you need is available at the click of a button.
  • Most services are free. Most of the above platforms require you to register an account, a small price to pay for the services accessed and utilized.
  • Many of these platforms, such as Blue Jeans, afford ample flexibility. You can install the software on your mobile phone or tablet and take your work anywhere.

An interesting feature is the prevalence of social media in collaboration platforms. For example, Blue Jeans works with Facebook. Twitter and Instagram can be used to connect amateur photographers and display their work publicly. This social integration to a collaboration platform can open up many different ideas and bring a new facet to teamwork and collaborative efforts.

In conclusion, in order to keep up with the digital revolution, the age-old activity of meeting up and collaborating as a team is slowly being moved to the digital realm. With businesses such as Blue Jeans at the forefront of this revolution, it’s hard to imagine a reason why you aren’t already taking advantage of this kind of technical collaboration.

  • https://www.staff.com Carlo Borja

    I’ve been working with virtual teams and I also lead a team myself at Staff.com.

    We strive and operate daily on collaboration. Communication in this digital age has definitely changed the way we do business.

    It requires a lot of discipline to make it work though. You need to be extremely focused and be very clear in communicating.

    In case you are also interested in the tools we use, we wrote an article about it:
    http://www.staff.com/blog/remote-team-communication/