Big companies have for years installed industrial-strength content management systems in the hope of sparking collaboration among workers. There was just one problem: People didn't use them.

Now, tools that people are familiar with on the consumer Web, such as blogs and wikis, are staking out ground inside businesses, often led by the end users themselves.

Industry observers say these popular Web 2.0 technologies are an effective way to collaborate at work; they are simple and easy to use, making them very appealing to end users.

"The key part of Web 2.0 is that there is something about these new tools that enable new practices of collaboration," said John Seely Brown, a consultant and former chief scientist of Xerox, who spoke at the Collaborative Technology Conference in Boston last week. "Web 2.0 is a profoundly participatory medium."

Though it lacks a precise definition, Web 2.0 generally refers to Web services that let people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation of Web offerings, Web 2.0 applications are more interactive, giving people an experience more akin to a native desktop application as opposed to a static Web page.

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