The online community is enamoured with social media. MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. Linked In. Del.ici.ous. YouTube. Networks exist for a participatory culture, and Gen X/Gen Y are ready to use these methods in their jobs. What if we were able to incorporate these concepts as tools for knowledge management?
Although exact job descriptions differ for knowledge management specialists, their primary job is to keep and disseminate a company’s collective information (both recorded and person-to-person). They work to keep the information alive, but cannot replace the engineer, the designer, the analyst, or the programmer. Yet knowledge managers are reliant upon these content creators to gather and encourage the flow of information. Would internal corporate social media give the content specialists a sense of ownership to their documents, and make them more willing to share information critical to their jobs and teams? I believe it would. By providing the person with a tool with which they are familiar, you enable an open communication flow. It encourages relationships and collaborations that may not normally occur due to proximity or time (in a sense crowdsourcing). It also provides a method of communication that the employee has a level of comfort. Some employees are more comfortable speaking and can record a podcast of sorts. Others will blog, preferring the written word, while others will use a slide show or video to demonstrate a method.
All this becomes important for information longevity. Give the employees the tools and responsibility of their recording their information and most people will participate. Especially when it comes with a sense of a job well-done and ease of finding it again in the future.
(This is very off the cuff. I may expand this in the future with some research or sources. Right now it’s purely observation and opinion, but the topic is open for discussions.)