E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Social Networks – Knowledge Management Done Right

A few days back you would remember how I was providing in a few lines some more information about what IBM is doing in the areas of Knowledge Management, Collaboration and Communities. And while that particular weblog post would provide you with some good details, I thought I would also point out to you a number of different weblog posts that may be even much more representative than anything else in the recent past.

It all originates with the recent event hosted by IBM Corp’s Lotus Software division and for which you can read all about it over at IBM Sets Its Sights on Social Networking Tools. As you will be able to see, there have been quite a few people who have been sharing their experiences about the event itself and from which you will be able to learn a great deal not only about what the event itself was like but also about what IBM is doing in the area of Knowledge Management and how it is slowly but steady changing its traditional way of dealing with Knowledge.

I particularly recommend you have a look into David Weinberger‘s IBM shows del.icio.us for the enterprise, and more (Including the different comments), Mike Gotta’s IBM: Future Of Social Networks, Bill Ives‘ several weblog posts on the subject (IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Blogs, Wikis, Tagging, and More – Part One, IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Blogs, Wikis, Tagging, and More – Part Two- External Applications and IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Blogs, Wikis, Tagging, and More – Part Three- Internal Applications), and, finally, my fellow IBMer, and avid weblogger, Irving Wladawsky-Berger on Social Networks – Knowledge Management Done Right.

I know that the above reading list may be a bit too much information for one go, but one thing for sure that I can comment on is that each of those weblog posts is a must-read if you would want to know what IBM is doing around the world of Knowledge Management from the perspective of communities, collaboration and social networking.

The interesting thing though from all of the above reading is that this is something that although it may well be relatively new it is actually not the case. What is happening right now is that there is a whole lot more hype around that new wave of Knowledge Management. But all along it has been there already for quite some time now. Check out Irving’s comments on this subject to get a good notion of where we are:

” . . .[social networks] play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.”  These were very much the objectives of knowledge management systems, which never achieved much success in the past because they were so cumbersome to use.  I think of social networking as knowledge management done right, with the Internet essentially becoming a very effective social networking platform supporting a wide variety of tools.”

I am not sure what you would think, folks, but, after reading that, it all sounds to me like the good old Personal Knowledge Management. Indeed, Irving’s comments of what KM used to be are right spot on, and why it may not have succeed as well as it should from the very beginning. But then again everybody knows that knowledge can only be shared on a local, and more compromised, way, which is something that KM did not succeed with in the past but that it is starting to make some more sense now. Why ? Mainly because with all these new social networking tools out there every single person can become an efficient (And an effective) Knowledge Worker and therefore will share their knowledge in a much more personal and committed way, that is, Personal Knowledge Management at its best. And all that is what will make it stick around for a long while, like Bill Ives mentions in IBM Sets Its Sights on Social Networking Tools:

“Blogs and wikis have the opposite effect of keeping unique ideas down, and may even inspire people to try harder at their jobs based on the (increased visibility) of their work,”

It is that commitment to make things work just in the right way for all those knowledge workers that will help push KM’s limits far off to where it should have gone from the very first beginning. But I guess it is always better late than never. Either way, if you have been reading all the different references above you will now see how IBM is trying to make its way further into that Personal Knowledge Management system so that now we have got the right tools in place (Wikis, weblogs, social bookmarking tools, context search, etc. etc.) it would be easier to manage our own assets and intellectual capital and share it with one another.

Thus stay tuned for some further updates, as I am planning to weblog about all this with much more detail as we go on. Including some further descriptions of most of the IBM tools that have been mentioned elsewhere in the above referenced weblog posts.

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