Feb 26

Since I’ve talking about social networking so much lately, I thought I’d point you to an interesting post that Luis Suarez wrote about the business value of social networking (which includes a presentation by David Tebbutt about the same subject).

David’s presentation mentions as caveats that hierarchies get flattened and silos get breached — yet I’m not entirely sure that this is always the case (this seems to be a common claim about social networking tools, which, as Luis mentioned, was something knowledge management often claimed it would do).

It’s very true that the introduction of social networking tools (and I think it’s safe to say that we’re talking about online social networking tools most of the time) can be a catalyst for change, but it can’t really change the culture of an organization. I agree with David’s claim that social networking (often) does have value within the business, it’s just that like anything else, it can fall flat on its face if the organizational culture is not conducive to the approach taken. And thanks to both David and Luis for continuing the discussion on this topic.

Feb 25

This from The Tech Herald: “Lady Susan Greenfield, a professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, claims that social networking could lead to users characterised by ‘short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise, and a shaky sense of identity.’. There’s also a longer article in the Daily Mail that allows for discussion.

While I don’t know much about the study beyond these two articles, it does seem to be a bit of stretch to me to link online social networking to the rise of specific disorders — but the discussion about social networking changing the way in which people think is an interesting one.

I also wonder about the ‘immediacy’ factor of online social interaction that Professor Greenfield brings up — is it actually possible to interact online any more ‘immediately’ than offline? While you can multitask online (having several conversations at once), you really can only focus on one conversation at a time.

To me, this seems like an increase in the fragmentation of interaction, not the immediacy of interaction (since the person you want to talk to is not responding immediately, you move on and talk to someone else). I talked about this fragmentation (and Richard Senett, who’s an expert on the subject) before. I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this subject — do you think Facebook is actually making you stupid?

Feb 24

I was reading an article this morning about how to turn your business around through effective knowledge management (this topic interests me quite a bit, and I wrote about it just a few short months ago).

The article I’ve linked to however, is in fact about enterprise search (while there is a caveat about half way through the article about progress working practices being necessary to thrive, the article is not really about knowledge management in general).

While I think the article title would have been more accurate if you replaced ‘knowledge management’ with ‘enterprise search’, it’s a small detail. There are also some important generalizations about search in this article, which, while still being generalizations, paint a somewhat accurate picture of the state of search. I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

Overwhelmingly, it [enterprise search] was felt it wasn’t meeting the needs of businesses – 63% of those surveyed stated that they believed enterprise search tools should be as easy for staff to use as consumer search engines, yet two thirds said that wasn’t currently the case. The study also discovered widespread concern about lengthy set up times – 73% said they believed it would take more than six months for an enterprise search tool to be useable by employees, with a staggering 68% stating they thought it would take between 18 months to two years to generate any return on investment (ROI). A further 19% estimated it would take over two years to generate ROI.

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Feb 17

As I was upgrading to the latest version of WordPress today (if you’re using WordPress and haven’t upgraded, version 2.7.1 just came out a little while ago, and I’d suggest upgrading), I ran into a bit of a snag. It turns out that the new built-in feature that upgrades WordPress automatically doesn’t play nice with the automatic upgrade plugin I had installed.

Of course as soon as I did the upgrade, I neglected to copy some files over (totally my fault), and there was a bit of a panicked “oh no, what did I do now” moment. This should just be a reminder to me that I need to back up my content much more often than I actually do (I think after I write this post, I’m going to just schedule an automatic backup to an empty Gmail account — that should do the trick).

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Feb 04

My spam filter has been acting up a little bit, and categorizing many of the comments in the past 48 hours as spam — so if you’ve made a comment in that time period and don’t see it on the site, it has probably been blown away by Akismet (WordPress’ spam filter).

I know there are at least a few comments that got caught in the filter — so if you anyone who has written a comment would like to write another one, I’ll make sure it gets posted to the site this time. And my apologies for your comment not getting posted the first time.

It seemed to be mostly comments with links in them that got caught in the filter, as Akismet is a little overanxious about those types of comments (although I also accidentally hit the delete button when I meant to press ‘next’ to see the next page of spammed comments). Again, if anyone’s comment is not showing up — please feel free to write another comment and I’ll ensure it gets on the site. Thanks!

Feb 04

Poor Mark Ghosh. As someone who uses a ton of different email accounts, online community profiles and social networking tools, I really feel for this guy. Having any account compromised just plain sucks (I’ve had it happen to me, and I totally understand Mark’s reference to ‘panic mode’).

I thought this was a particularly relevant narrative about Google’s security, as I just posted a few days ago about GDrive (which could effectively store any file you’ve got on your computer). So while online storage may be convenient, it’s no fun when your convenient online storage account suddenly becomes a grab bag of personal information for malicious attackers.

I guess this is also the danger of the tendency that Google has to consolidate accounts under the umbrella of the Google Account. One login to everything means that only one set of login credentials needs to be compromised for attackers to get access to all your stuff.

Anyway, I hope you gets control of your account back Mark, as well as some kind of useful response from Google about the security of Orkut.

Feb 03

As I’ve promised many times, I decided to update my ever-popular list of essential knowledge management sites and blogs. While the original list was only 26 sites, and eventually almost doubled to around 50, I’ve now got the list up to 66 sites that are really cranking out some quality content.

As always, if you have a site that you’d like to suggest for this list, please just let me know and I’ll take a look at it. If it fits the bill (high quality, frequent posting, and it hasn’t been around only since yesterday), it’ll get on the list.

One small suggestion to the many bloggers out there with knowledge management blogs, however. Create an ‘About’ page! There are so many great sites that I’ve found that I’ve been unable to attribute to a person or organization because they lacked an ‘About’ page. And with that small request, on to the list.

1. Aa..ha! – This blog is an eclectic mix of thinking about the human condition as well as knowledge management. There’s a good mix of knowledge management, wisdom and just general stuff about life.

2. Above and Beyond KM – “A discussion of knowledge management that goes above and beyond technology.” Has somewhat of a law focus, but often discusses non-legal knowledge management issues.

3. ActKM – I have to give Keith De La Rue credit for pointing this one out to me (as per his comment below). A great site for finding out what’s happening in the KM world.

4. The American Productivity & Quality Center’s Knowledge Management Blog – Thoughts and discussions on knowledge management by Jim Lee from the APQC.

5. Anecdote – Anecdote is a consulting firm that specializes in organizational change, leadership and storytelling. While not a strictly KM site, the blog on the front page includes many thoughts and links related to communities of practice and other KM-related areas (thanks Vincent).

6. Association of Knowledgework – At the Association of Knowledgework, people from every specialty cross professional, geographic, cultural, economic and hierarchical barriers to learn together.

7. Boxes and Arrows – While this site doesn’t focus exclusively on knowledge management, it does have a great deal of content in peripheral areas like content management and design.

8. Brad Hinton’s Plain Speaking – Lots of good storytelling and business narrative-type stuff here, as well as some great collaboration and communities of practice resources.

9. BRINT – Developing leading edge thinking and practice on contemporary business, technology, and knowledge management issues to facilitate organizational and individual performance, success, and fulfillment.

10. ChiefTech – While this blog is mostly about information technology, there is some very interesting stuff there about the web and social networking. This site also talked (very kindly I might add) about this blog.

11. Chris Collison’s blog – This is an excellent resource for collaboration-related knowledge management stuff. Chris is a fantastic resource on anything collaborative (and has even been kind enough to leave an insightful comment here).

12. Cindy Gordon – Focuses upon knowledge management, human capital and innovation.

13. CIO’s Knowledge Management section – The magazine about business, technology and leadership has a specific section on their website devoted to KM. The other sections are also interesting and definitely worth checking out as well.

14. Cognitive Edge – Dave Snowden’s Cognitive Edge talks about all aspects of knowledge management, and is updated quite frequently.

15. Collaborative Enterprise – Blog belonging to an Indian social software consultant that deals with managingknowledge, KM systems and social media.

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Feb 02

GDrive’s been spotted again! I’ve been excited about Google GDrive product for quite a while now (yes, I actually do get excited about new products from Google, it’s a sickness). I think I first heard about it around two years ago (as you can see from these headlines, this is not the first time the product was believed to be launching ‘soon’), and I’ve been hoping for a Google launch of the product since then.

If you haven’t heard of GDrive before, it’s basically an online hard disk — you can store whatever files you’d like, with (allegedly) pretty much infinite storage capability. GDrive also marks a significant shift in thinking in terms of computer storage, moving away from the ‘things are stored in my computer’ approach to a cloud computing approach.

While this is a great thing for all of us who would like a ton of storage at little or no cost (and be able to access those files from any internet-connected computer), there are a few potential glitches. Privacy‘s one issue that has come up over and over again whenever the GDrive rumour (yes, I’m still very much classifying a launch of GDrive as rumour).

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