Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The Water Cooler Is Now On The Web

This is a great little article which I found via Strategic Legal Technology. In it the author describes how some firms are using Social Networks as Knowledge Management Tools. One of the example given is of a search for experience in a particular area:

"Search for someone--say, with digital experience in Mexico--and you show up as a pushpin in the center of a bull's eye, with surrounding pushpins representing people who fit the bill"

The benefits of using Social Networks as Knowledge Management tools are pretty clear but there are plenty of barriers including supporting a technology that may just be the next fad and regulatory/disclosure issues. The other benefit to using Social Networks that the author discusses is the reduction in the number of emails received:

"By luring employees into a network, companies hope to leverage their skills and contacts. But they also hope that all that collaboration will cut out time that's now spent mailing documents and e-mailing comments"

Will Social Networks be increasingly used as Knowledge Management tools? There is certainly some areas where they can be applied immediately like experience or Know-who, but they will have to develop significantly before they replace in-house systems.

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