- how they make it so much easier to share tacit knowledge
- how you can use them in a flexible way for workarounds, or to share stuff that process tools don’t allow
- how you can define the structure to how you work, instead of the other way around
In this respect web 2.0 tools are just that, tools…they are here to help you get things done, they are not here to set the way or framework of how you will get things done.
This type of approach or design seems to be very much akin to the social learning model, from the blog post:
“…Social Learning is much more dynamic, free flowing. With traditional knowledge management (TKM, just because I am lazy) there were tools and everyone had to buy into the tool, learn how to use it and then fit it into the organization - or, for the organization to fit around it. It was a great idea that became a dirty phrase because it was difficult to implement and do correctly. Social Learning works how we want to work. There are very few rigid processes that need to be followed. The tools are simple and intuitive.
The fact that there are ‘tools’ plural is an added benefit. I may like to share information one way. Frank Ferter may like to share it another way. Whatever is comfortable and works into my way of working. That creates adoption.
Again, because of the limited nature of TKM, it was difficult to be creative. I can now, if I want, post text, pictures, videos, podcasts, vodcasts, link to other bits of knowledge, easily search it, tag it, share it through social bookmarking, see who the other contributors are, rate it, comment on it, edit it… I mold it into what works for me and the rest of the group.
TKM was implemented top down - a mandate. SL is from the bottom up. We want it. We are already using it. We are asking that other organizations use it. We are comfortable with it (or are becoming more so). “
Basically social computing seems a whole lot like social learning, as we use the tools we grow and learn, and it’s these flexible tools and our willingness that allows this to propogate. In aggregate we can network and see emergent patterns which leads to decision making…you can use the aggregate data to get perspectives.
Many call centres use blogs and wikis to get around the exceptions to the rule. Their process tools allow them to do the explicit stuff, but free-form tools allow them to share experiences and workarounds, without these tools people would share notebooks, a document in a share drive, or use email.
More a function, RSS allows you to re-syndicate your content elsewhere, meaning you publish here, and your content can also appear elsewhere…and not just HTML or java, you can also get RSS to IM, email, SMS, etc…
There are many instances where you can publish a blog post or wiki page via email, or email an attachment to a photo site, etc…
There are also many instances where you can interact between two services eg. save this word document in Box.net via the menu bar, etc…
I guess a lot of this is due to services opening their API’s…this post is not about that level of sophistication, it’s more about bending the boundaries, but there are many mashup services that are getting more user friendly everyday.
Companies are also using web 2.0 tools to bend to their own purpose:
Jansen-Cilag - a wiki as a type of intranet, rather than the traditional communal editing approach.
Avenue A | Razorfish - a wiki and bookmarking mashup as an intranet.
Serena - a private Facebook Groups as an Intranet.
These are the only ones that come to mind, but what about some more general ways:
Twitter users were not only answering “what are you doing”, but also conversing by using the “@” symbol, now this has been incorporated as a feature. We see flexibility provides opportunity to not only be more usable, but too allow opportunity for better design.
My friend Gerry uses the magnificent RedBubble site (my wife also uses this site) for his art…each item you upload displays page views, so Gerry has gone to each of his items, with say, over 100 page views and applied a unique tag tp5.
Then on his homepage he has created as hyperlink called “most popular viewed“.
So in a manual way he has made a most popular page of his stuff based on page views…he could keep going with most rated, most commented, etc…
The point of this is that the flexibility of these tools are 2 fold:
- they enable us to share information we would normally keep on our desktops or not bother with at all
- they are unstructured so we can make them work to our needs.
These are some brief (off the top of my head) ways individuals, groups and enterprises are using web 2.0 tools tailored to their needs.
I’m not specifically talking about mashups, but just being able to bend tools enough to do what you want.
As with the Twitter example, a lot of the time people are noticing how others are bending tools to use them in other ways that are a bit different to their actual purpose. After a while you wish the tool did a bit more, but you can only bend so much, so you blog about your frustrations that many others are having, and low and behold, people have been listening, as a new service or feature comes out that is exactly what you were looking for.
So we bend the tools to our needs, we use other like tools to talk about this, others listen, and we get the new perfect tools or features. No matter how you look at it, free-form tools allow not only manifestation, nuturing (discussions leading to new content) and aggregation of content, but also new tools. I think it’s very organic (self organising, self assembling)…all this due to loose design to let us flex our arms, the free-form design lends itself to a positive feedback design loop.
If you know any examples, leave a comment.