Thursday, December 6, 2007

DocStoc Redux

A few weeks ago I posted my review of DocStoc, a user generated community where you can find and share professional documents. My biggest complaint was that it was full of amateurish information and copywritten materials. DocStoc was sponsoring a contest for who could post the most documents. There was a flood of documents. One winner published more than 20,000 documents. But the focus was on quantity, not quality.

DocStoc changed their course and are now having a contest for the best quality document uploaded each day. That sounds like a much better goal.

I created a DocStoc account and uploaded some documents. Here is my account profile.

But what's in it for me? Why should I contribute documents and maintain my documents?

I keep looking for functionality that would make it easier to categorize and maintain my documents and other documents that interest me. DocStoc would be more useful if it offered features and information that I could not easily find elsewhere. I was hoping that DocStoc offered at least some basic document management features. If I worked in a small firm, I might want to use DocStoc to host my form documents. And maybe I would want to combine my forms from others that I found useful. DocStoc could have a been a better place to host this over my hard drive or a shared file server.

DocStoc does not offer much in the way of document management features. I can't edit the document once its in there. I can't even delete any of my documents.

With any knowledge management project, enterprise 2.0 project or web 2.0 site, I believe you need to focus on giving the person a useful tool, rather than having the focus on the collective good that comes from using the tool. People should use the tool because it is useful for them individually. Not because they can win an iPod if they use it the most. You need to be able to answer the questions: "What's In It For Me?"

With DocStoc, it could be a wonderful tool if people contributed and maintained their best documents on the site. There is a lot of collective good. But for me as an individual user, the tool does not provide me personally with much benefit. There is not much in it for me.

1 comment:

  1. Doug,

    good post, you're right about a lot of stuff.

    quick points - you can delete and change the tags, name, categories of any of your documents by right clicking on them from your profile. That it isn't more intuitive is our fault.

    You can also create your own customized folders in your profile page (right click again) and from anywhere on docstoc you find documents put your docs, or other users docs (with drag and drop from your profile page or add to folders icon from other page) to any of those folders you create.

    Yes we need to add more to the product to help it serve you.

    What you see now is largely still the product that I self financed. We have seen got a good amount of cash, and we are working round the clock to make it better.

    All i can ask is for your continued patience for a bit more, and certainly your feedback, and we will try and incorporate all this feedback and make docstoc 100% more useful and helpful for you.

    You or your readers are always encouraged to contact me personally at jason at docstoc.

    Thanks for the post.



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