Social Software for KM

Ross Mayfield writes about the need to rethink knowledge management, pointing to discussions by Dave Pollard and Jay Fienberg.

One of the points made by Dave is about the use of social software for KM and its benefits:

  • The entire issue of centralized content collection and management goes away. Everyone does their own.

  • The intranet becomes a people-to-people connector instead of a content repository, a ‘link harvester’, scanning all traffic across it and dynamically identifying connections to people and their knowledge. New tools would be needed to allow such functionality. These would be Social Software tools, not KM tools.

  • The intranet architecture begins to look more like that of a telephone switch than that of a DBMS. It gets very skinny. There are no central databases.

  • Each individual’s subscribable, personally-indexed weblog becomes a surrogate or proxy for the individual when s/he’s not available personally.

  • Organizational boundaries become irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether the person you are sharing with is a work colleague, a supplier, customer, friend or advisor, an individual or a team, inside or outside the company. You share what you know with those you trust, period. Security would hence be provided at the individual level, not managed by the enterprise. The same way employees know what hard-copy documents can be shared with whom, they set up subscription access to their blog categories correspondingly

  • Jay provides “a set of recommendations designed to suggest a system in which people in the company are encouraged to publish information to each other and collaborate with and through that information…I think these recommendations are worth posting here as they suggests a set of requirements that microcontent oriented systems (like the iCite net, wikis, blogs, etc.) might best match.”

    Summarises Ross: “We are seeing Enterprise Social Software being considered not as knowledge management, but as a better way of doing management. The knowing-doing gap is closing, but not as we expected. Facilitate doing in a social context and you gain learning and insights in social context.”

    The way I have been thinking about this is quite similar: how can we use the appropriate tools with methodologies first for personal productivity, and then for group productivity. Managing information is a key aspect of the first process, and sharing information is important for the second. This is the bottom-up process that enterprise knowledge management needs to focus on.

    Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.