Collaboration is the key. When industry voices decry the “lack of professionalism,” overwhelming “black hat” strategies, and the need for organizations to monitor, and certify participants, the real issue is a breakdown in collaboration. When innovative concepts drive our industry to new heights, when brilliant ideas explode into more exciting websites and applications… collaboration is thriving.
Read the definition in Wikipedia. It references “an intersection of common goals,” “sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.”
At its inception, collaborators created the internet for the exclusive purpose of collaboration. When we started building websites in 1994, we knew nothing about html, little about IP addresses and networking, and less about domain management, hosting, or email configuration. Those who voluntarily, nay enthusiastically shared knowledge grew with us. Those who were secretive and possessive fell by the wayside.
There was no such thing as black/white hat. Everything was an experiment. We constantly tested the boundaries. When someone had a breakthrough, it was shared with the entire community. Others would piggyback their experiences, and before long entire new worlds would open. Color, graphics, animation, mouseovers… The list goes on and on.
The very people who rejected this new technology at first, i.e. ad agencies with their MAC based systems, their Quark, and their commitment to print media were the people we soon observed creating a shuttered and closed environment. They were the ones who would take but wouldn’t give. They were the ones who chose obscure terminology to describe mundane tasks. While they openly spoke of “leisure suit technology,” they secretly worked to determine how it could be built into their existing structure.
The pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. Openness is the byword. One needs look no further than Adobe to see an absolutely brilliant “today” example of collaboration. The current holder of Flash technology (I submit that no one, no entity owns technology. They only hold it for a period of time.) finally presented a series of videos to disperse the rampant myths about the most successful SEO procedures. Jay Middleton, Worldwide Manager of Search Marketing for Adobe Systems, Inc. and Damien Bianchi, Regional Director of Client Strategy at Global Strategies, collaborated to deliver rock solid, long overdue solutions to a problem of great magnitude.
The time has come for others to jump on the collaboration bandwagon and open the doors. The internet will benefit. We will all benefit.