Five ways to collaborate online

Having effective ways to collaborate online enhances our ability to engage in a meaningful way. You have probably worked on a shared document with others by sending emails back and forth. This seems to still be the default way to collaborate, but it is less than ideal. It sometimes hard to identify the latest version of the file and updates take time. And for busy people the trail of relevant emails can be spread throughout your inbox.

Here are five ways to collaborate.

Google Drive

Google Drive (formerly Googledocs) offers a free online document creation and storage facility. Google Drive also has the capability to connect other apps that complement Drive’s native apps. Google Drive also offers 15 gigs of storage space. Online collaboration is easy with Drive – you have the option either to share a file or a folder with others and enable them to edit.

Microsoft Office 365

I haven’t used Microsoft Office 365 yet. It is a shift from a one-time purchase of the software to an annual lease. It offers file sharing and capability for collaborating on documents. Other features include multi-party HD video conferencing.

GroupMap

GroupMap offers different collaboration capabilities. It is more suited to collective brainstorming and sharing information and ideas rather than formalising them in a document. When you share a GroupMap with someone, they are able to contribute ideas by typing into “My View”. Switching to “Group View” displays aggregated contributions. Note that GroupMap has a template for stakeholder mapping.

Blogging

Blogs such as WordPress.com or Blogger are easy ways to establish a website providing the advantage of a publishing platform. In WordPress.com you can invite others into your blog as contributors. When I have attempted this, some have not got past the need to set up a WordPress account. If you have a WordPress.org account, there are a number of plugins available to enhance collaboration. Participad is a WordPress plugin that allows multiple people to edit the same WP content at the same time. I haven’t used Blogger and am interested to know if access is easier for guest bloggers.

Wikis

Wikipedia is the best known wiki and you can collaborate there to create new content. Mediawiki is a probably more suitable for those that want to collaborate without the pressure of conforming to Wikipedia’s protocols. This website provides great advice for collaborating through a wiki.