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Social Media : An effective tool for Knowledge Management?


I want to knowThe knowledge economy is playing an increasingly important role in the globalized economy. Knowledge and information are valuable commodities that give companies an edge over competitors. That is why recording and sharing this knowledge is high on the agenda of modern organizations.

The graying of the workforce has many organizations concerned. It will not be long before the number of leavers in a company is greater than the number of entries. With outflow of employees valuable knowledge is lost. Capturing and securing that knowledge is an important step in keeping a competitive edge.

Information is knowledge when linked to an applicable context

Many recent knowledge management initiatives have failed. These initiatives tried to solve the problem by directly inputting human knowledge into an information system. This often results in a large amount of information, but not the intended source of knowledge. Information is only knowledge if it is linked to an applicable context. This context is often not (yet) included in the system.

The knowledge in people's heads can be combined with an applicable context when employees engage in a dialogue, ask questions, and share experiences. The rise of social media within intranets allows for these dialogues to happen naturally. Employees can ask questions and share experiences on an enterprise social media platform. This gives the leavers the chance to share their valuable expertise with the experts of tomorrow.

Social platform facilitate the exchange of knowledge in context

By combining an intranet with an internal social network, which holds rich profile information, employees can easily find colleagues with specific knowledge or expertise. Within the network employees can form communities to focus on specific group tasks. These communities facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Streamline knowledge sharing within organizations

Intranets have evolved from being a digital version of the business newsletter to becoming a digital workplace that supports knowledge workers in performing their task. This new generation of intranets increases the efficiency of the staff by streamlining communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. The principles that guide the new intranet put relationships first. The structure is designed to enhance dialogue with and between users. The information gleaned from the dialogue is put into a social context. In this way, every employee in the organization becomes an author and a source of knowledge.



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Opened by Antoine Fournier, Consultant
Apr 25.



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Patrice van de Walle Apr 26

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I'm not sure that "knowledge and information are valuable commodities that give companies an edge over competitors"! I think its the use of that knowledge and information in innovative and creative ways that sets companies apart.

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Antoine Fournier 61 Antoine Fournier Consultant

Apr 26

@Patrice,
If you mean that "Information and knowledge are not enough to set companies apart", that's correct.
I just believe that a suitable knowledge sharing tool will allow workers to get the right knowledge at the right time, when shared in a given context.

To me, innovation cannot be fostered by a knowledge management tool that do not leverage human relationship. Conversation between human beings has always been the only innovation factor.
You may like to read a post I wrote about that : "Innovators are conversation architects"

Today I develop the idea that social media are a valuable proposal (as far as technology is wanted for knowledge management), but the tool is nothing if it does not provide information & knowledge within a context.

Knowledge is pre-existent to applied skills.


Patrice van de Walle 05 Patrice van de Walle
Apr 26

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. My point was that knowledge and information used to be much more important because people could control and hoard it. That is much more difficult now, thus pushing the human relationship element to the fore. And so it's the interaction between us that creates value. And THAT remains very difficult!! (We are human after all.)

I was at a conference yesterday at the EU. The topic of the use of social media in the EU and Associations was discussed at length. I was really not impressed by their understanding of what is involved. Now here are groups that have a lot of information and knowledge, but continue to have relationship problems with their clients.


Antoine Fournier 61 Antoine Fournier Consultant

Oct 21

@Patrice,
Being customer oriented is another track that organization have to go thru. Pushing the social thread, I would support any "Social Support" initiative : it will follow what George Colony, CEO at Forrester Research describes, pretending that "the future belongs to customer-obsessed enterprises": George Colony on October 10, 2013

You may also like to read : "Social Support: Extend the Expert Community Beyond Your Company's Frontiers".


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Jesse Domingo Leadership Adviser, Strategist
Oct 21


When it comes to social media, knowledge could be defined as information. And it is because once knowledge is shared, it shows up as information.

Now "successfully" managing information depends on the person's ability to classify and absorb it. This means, you can't pay attention to every information that comes your way but you have to determine if that information would have some use to you, whether now or in the future. Absorbing the right amount of information at a time is what matters, and putting it into action is what matters more. Meanwhile, being able to learn, adjust, and "evolve" from it is what matters most.

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Antoine Fournier 61 Antoine Fournier Consultant

Oct 21

Hi Jesse. I agree to say knowledge is information - mainly. There is anyway an additional parameter that makes information a knowledge. This is the human being who holds it, and USE it in context. Knowledge is exactly what you said : an information that was absorbed, classified in a way the person can put it into action and create new knowledge (evolve).
What is nice when a social media platform is right, is that it allows the transfer of knowledge, meaning transmitting the information is a way it will be immediately usable, easily absorbed, understood, like a face to face conversation does.

You probably understood that this is what we are trying to achieve in XperLink venture, and your contributions are very helpful in that regard. We are developing the proposal and hopefully more is yet to come to make this obvious.

Filling the gap between information and knowledge in social media is our quest :)