KM Component 43 – Social Software and Social Media

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

February 03, 2022

As part of a KM program, knowledge managers can offer a broad portfolio of social software to help democratize knowledge and better link people. 

These tools typically include personal web pages with bios, interests, links, photos, videos, personal networks, posts, and comments. Social software and social media are web and mobile applications used to turn communication into interactive dialogue, sharing, and assistance. Social software is primarily used within an enterprise (private). Social media is primarily used externally (public).

Offering a broad portfolio of social software helps democratize knowledge and better links people. Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have attracted huge numbers of users. Given the popularity of these sites, it may be possible to capture some of this user enthusiasm within an organization by providing similar functionality. Consider offering users the ability to easily create their own personal home pages. As part of these pages, extract as much information as is already available from other databases, such as basic employee information (email address, instant messaging ID, office location, phone numbers, skills, etc.). If the user has a blog, integrate it using syndication.

Allow users to enter their biographies and personal statements, upload their photos, add links to favorite sites, declare interests and expertise, and add friends in their social network. Integrate feeds from other systems, including the team spaces belonged to, latest threaded discussion posts, point totals from the incentive points system, courses attended and enrolled in, and contributions made to knowledge repositories.

If you make the tool fun, attractive, and voluntary, it may become very popular and spread in viral fashion. If this is the case, then whatever you embed in the tool will get widespread visibility. Make sure that all embedded features are for the benefit of the users, to avoid the appearance of the equivalence of advertising. Give the users something that they enjoy using, and the organization can benefit from the byproducts – improved communications, social networking, and expertise location.

Use Cases

Here are ways to use social tools for the benefit of individuals and organizations.

  1. Instant messaging and group chat: Easily hold discussions that are persistent and readily searchable; multi-user chat using real-time, synchronous communications.
  2. File sharing: Enable large files to be centrally stored and easily shared between multiple users so that they are secure, accessible, backed up, and don’t have to be sent as email attachments.
  3. Real-time interaction: Provide a way for threaded discussions to take place in real time, e.g., while an event is occurring; use hashtags (e.g., #KMers) to allow users to find each other and interact; produce a transcript for such chats; chat with a customer while they visit a site.
  4. Posting and knowledge sharing: Make it easy to post status updates, share links and documents to useful information, and carry on discussions.
  5. Social network profiles, social networks, and expertise location: Biographies, personal statements, links, interests, expertise, and experience; links to people who are acquainted or connected as friends, business contacts, or colleagues; compute a numerical indicator of the relative influence of an individual; social software can help address the challenge of motivating employees to maintain their expertise in a tool. By allowing users to define their own tags for both interests and skills, a folksonomy of expertise can be developed which is less onerous than a massive list of standard skills. If a social networking tool offers other desirable features such as photos, status updates, and bookmarks, it may draw in users who will also enter and maintain their skills.
  6. Idea management and open innovation: Submit suggestions, track implementation progress, and work with others to innovate and invent.
  7. Q&A: Ask questions, receive answers, and provide answers to the questions of others.
  8. Social guides and recommendations: Rate businesses and places and offer suggestions for what to try and what to avoid.
  9. Social bookmarking, tagging, and pinboards: Save links to useful sites and content, add tags to group and classify the content, and reuse the links and tags offered by others.
  10. Social news aggregators: Collect and publish news stories, allow users to rate content, and use upvotes and downvotes to influence the prominence of content.
  11. Music: Connect to artists and other fans, create and share playlists, and listen to and publish music.
  12. Photos and videos: Collect and publish photos and videos, create stories out of photos and videos, and like, comment on, tag, rate, and share photos and videos.
  13. Check-in: Let people know where you are, maintain a history of where you have been, and participate in friendly competitions such as rankings and becoming the “mayor” of a location. Location Based Services are information or entertainment services accessible using mobile devices that make use of the geographic position of mobile devices. Such services interact with users based on their location to make recommendations, identify nearby people or places, and provide offers based on current location.
  14. Share payments: Enable people to easily share paying for a purchase and to transfer funds between one another.
  15. Social navigation: Provide real-time traffic updates and directions to allow driving the optimal route.
  16. Virtual worlds: Allow people to interact in a highly visual setting using avatars, rich environments, and simulated physical activity.
  17. Prediction markets: Speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions; the current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the parameter.

Content from Lucidea

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Please enjoy  Stan’s additional blog posts offering advice and insights drawn from many years as a KM practitioner. You may also want to download a copy of his book, Proven Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Management Program, from Lucidea Press.  And learn about Lucidea’s  Inmagic Presto and SydneyEnterprise with KM capabilities to support successful knowledge curation and sharing. 

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