Thursday, December 04, 2008

Social Media vs. Knowledge Management - I totally missed this

I just wanted to quickly share this article from  The KM community has seen themselves as uniquely different from the eLearning community as well.  However, from where I'm sitting its starting to look like Social Media technologies are slowly devouring both fields...and others. 

Okay, so devouring might be a strong word.  But taking the best of Social Media, Knowledge Management, eLearning, User Assistance (and others) and combining them together gives us Enterprise 2.0 solutions. 

The leader in the area of Enterprise 2.0 is Andew McAfee of Harvard Business School. It was a McAfee blog post that alerted me to the SocialComputingMagazine article.

I haven't had a lot of time to fully form my thoughts on this but would love to hear your ideas and/or concerns.


Guy Boulet said...

In my mind, Knowledge management is a process while Social Media are tools therefore there can't be a war between the two.

I think this is more a shift in the way people are managing knowledge. The old way of gathering knowledge in a repository accessible for consultation only by people is being replace by a more flexible approach where each and every stakeholder can contribute in building that knowledge.

This is a move from static to dynamic knowledge management. This is neither a war nor a revolution. This is simply an evolution.

bschlenker said...

Hi Guy! Wow, you nailed it! That is quite possibly the most thoughtful well-stated response I've ever gotten on a blog post. Thank you.
(And thank you for not being anonymous.)

Harold Jarche said...

Agree with Guy and see what is happening is the result of the ubiquitous surround of the Net. Work and learning are merging and we're using technology to do both and often at the same time. I've never thought of myself in any particular camp, and try to combine aspects of - e-learning; HPT; KM, CoP & OD.

Many social media are great for connected learning & networked business, which is my major focus. Social media are also helping to break down some of the barriers between various disciplines and that's a good thing. As they say; all models are flawed, but some are useful.

bschlenker said...

Excellent! 2 great comments in one day. I better buy a lottery ticket ;-)

I agree with you both. It seems to me that the technology, social media or otherwise is forcing a blend of the disciplines. Like you said, breaking down barriers.

I also thought of what we do in Corporate eLearning as a little KM, a little EPSS, a little Courseware Dev., and sprinkling of technical writing. And of course mashed in with Media development, business acumen, interpersonal skills (talking with SMEs), graphics design, programming, etc. The list goes on and on. At least it seemed to in my experience.

Sounds like you've found the same alphabet soup career as I have ;-)

Harold Jarche said...

The biggest problem I have now is answering the question, "what do you do for living?" ;-)

bschlenker said...

OMG! Me too. That's the worst conversation to have these days. I'm still trying to figure it out the 30 elevator pitch...but nothin' so far.

Anonymous said...

Great post Brent. As a GenX, I very much agree with the whole "war" between generations, but I think it extends beyond the whole KM vs Clouds thing. What I see in Boomers is a general penchant for top-down control and what I see in GenY is a general penchant for bottoms-up teams. I even see it in my own company and we're a social learning / social media company! The thing is, I think that they both have their place, just as both KM and Social Media have their place.

I think that there is plenty of info in an org that requires some sort of "blessing" or stamp of approval. I, as an employee, often want to know the "official" policy or procedure for certain subjects, particularly regulatory, compliance, safety etc... On the other hand, there are many kinds of information flow that should be *monitored* and *influenced* by the org, but not controlled and approved before dissemination: best practices (in some situations), lessons learned, application of knowledge and skills, specialized knowledge and skill that is too niche for KM or training, rapidly evolving knowledge or skills that move too fast for KM or training, and on and on. There are dozens and dozens of these information categories that are better served by SM.

I think what we need is a true "Long Tail" approach where some portion of the "short head" is managed through KM and formal training models, and the "long tail" is managed through social media. It's not an "either or" situation and if we think of it that way, we're going to lose out on one side or the other. In the end though, I suspect SM models will adopt approval strategies faster than KM will adopt a broader frame of openness and inclusion.