Over a lunch conversation on Thursday with Andrew McAfee, a group of us discussed barriers and enablers for adopting Enterprise 2.0 technologies within organizations. One objection that I have often seen raised came up in this conversation as well; that blogs, wikis, and other collaboration technologies represent new risks in an era of increased scrutiny and regulation. The reasoning goes that there is already too much risk associated with tools like email and IM of inappropriate behaviors being subject to discovery and that, if anything, for sensitive issues no electronic traces should ever be created.
The primary fear appears to be that legitimate internal debate and discussion of complex problems will be taken out of context and misrepresented. I think this fear actually represents a powerful argument in favor of Enterprise 2.0 technologies as a decided improvement over today’s ad hoc environment of email, instant messaging, and scattered memos and presentations. By design, Enterprise 2.0 technologies contextualize the development and refinement of ideas as a social activity. By making the thinking and the debate visible and organized, you blunt, if not disarm, those who would try to portray the debate as something other than what it was.