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Learn Or Die: A Primer

Craig Malloy has argues that LMS, CMS, Social Business Software, etc., are silo-ed attempts at the primary goal of the organisation: knowledge sharing.

As frustrated as we may ever be, productivity is still one of the greatest levers any executive has at her disposal. Job satisfaction and employee retention is ultimately all about getting things done, and accomplishing great things as a team. Otherwise, why are we working so damn hard? Everyone wants better knowledge sharing.

Mind Over Mass Media

Steven Pinker writes a classic piece and clears the smoke over the view that new media and Google is making us stupid.

“The effects of consuming electronic media are also likely to be far more limited than the panic implies. Media critics write as if the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes, the informational equivalent of “you are what you eat.” As with primitive peoples who believe that eating fierce animals will make them fierce, they assume that watching quick cuts in rock videos turns your mental life into quick cuts or that reading bullet points and Twitter postings turns your thoughts into bullet points and Twitter postings.”

Does the Internet Make You Smarter?

Clay Shirky takes on Nicolas Carr in this excerpt from this book, “Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.”

“Increased freedom to create means increased freedom to create throwaway material, as well as freedom to indulge in the experimentation that eventually makes the good new stuff possible. There is no easy way to get through a media revolution of this magnitude; the task before us now is to experiment with new ways of using a medium that is social, ubiquitous and cheap, a medium that changes the landscape by distributing freedom of the press and freedom of assembly as widely as freedom of speech.”

Designing collections for the web

Designing collections for the web - my new article over at PebbleRoad. The idea of the article came up when the team was discussing how best to leverage and surface homogeneous information. We were doing a redesign of a hospital website and found out that patients wanted to be connected with getting care in many different ways - by clinic, by doctor, by diseases and conditions etc. This idea let us to investigate collections, first as used by libraries, and then modified and as used by social media. This article compiles our experimentation and learning on the subject.

“A collection is a list of homogeneous items. A collection on the web can be as simple as a blog (a list of posts) to as complex as a library collection (multiple lists of different library materials). Collections are an integral part of many websites, but not all collections are designed with ease-of-use and ease-of-retrieval in mind.  In this article, I’ll cover some theory and give practical advice on designing online collections for the websites and intranets.”

Streams of Content, Limited Attention

An interesting take by Danah Boyd on how the information streams that we are living in (blogs, tweets, facebook, buzz, etc.) need some change in order to be relevant. The main argument here is that it is difficult to direct attention to something in a stream. And if we do manage to do that, it is difficult to hold on to it. I feel the same way when living in the stream of blogs and tweets. At times I long for the slow pace of a book. If only I could control the pace of my stream….

“To be relevant today requires understanding context, popularity, and reputation. In the broadcast era, we assumed the disseminator organized information because they were a destination. In a networked era, there will be no destination, but rather a network of content and people. We cannot assume that content will be organized around topics or that people will want to consume content organized as such. We’re already seeing this in streams-based media consumption. When consuming information through social media tools, people consume social gossip alongside productive content, news alongside status updates. Right now, it’s one big mess. But the key is not going to be to create distinct destinations organized around topics, but to find ways in which content can be surfaced in context, regardless of where it resides.”

Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Booz Allen: Part One Overview of Business Drivers and Components

Bill Ives: This is the first in a six part series on Booz Allen’s award winning implementation of Enterprise 2.0.

“To meet these challenges, Booz Allen developed and implemented Hello, a suite of web-based enterprise tools designed to strengthen collaboration, connectivity, and communication across geographical and cultural barriers. It was created from vision to launch in under 6 months leveraging a blend of Open Source, COTS, and custom-developed products. Since August 2008, more than 80% of the firm has logged into Hello and more than 53% of the firm has contributed original content. There are more than 4,000 individual searches a day.”

Ten Commandments of Social Media

These 10 Commandments of Social Media are just brilliant.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Be a Narcissist
  2. Thou Shalt Listen to What Others Are Saying
  3. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  4. Thou Shalt Say Something of Substance
  5. Thou Shalt Not Abuse Thy Neighbour
  6. Thou Shalt Give Credit Where Credit is Due
  7. Thou Shalt Learn How to Spell (or at least use a spell checker)
  8. Thou Shalt Use Real Words
  9. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness
  10. Thou Shalt Not Be a Friend Whore

Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending

NY Times reports on the emerging trend of borrowing e-books from libraries. It’s all nice but there are some cracks—e-books are treated as physical books. “Most digital books in libraries are treated like printed ones: only one borrower can check out an e-book at a time, and for popular titles, patrons must wait in line just as they do for physical books. After two to three weeks, the e-book automatically expires from a reader’s account.”

Fads vs Business Value: Knowledge Management & Enterprise 2.0

Oliver Marks cautions on using the 2.0 prefix as another way to bottle old wine—for example, KM before and Enterprise 2.0 now.

Like the vast amount of blogs, there’s now a glut of content online with mostly nothing new to say (with honorable exceptions of course) on the topic of using web 2.0 technologies in business, the wonder of Twitter and on and on, in slide format. It’s far from clear who most of this material is aimed at - like the CD Roms ten years ago not many people actually look at this stuff unless there’s a compelling reason to.

Gov 2.0: It’s All About The Platform

Tim O’Reilly writes a short but direct piece on what Gov 2.0 should really focus on.

“A lot of people equate the term with government use of social media, either to solicit public participation or to get out its message in new ways. Some people think it means making government more transparent. Some people think it means adding AJAX to government websites, or replacing those websites with government APIs, or building new cloud platforms for shared government services…”

“... government agencies shouldn’t just provide web sites, they should provide web services. These services, in effect, become the government’s SDK (software development kit). The government may build some applications using these APIs, but there’s an opportunity for private citizens and innovative companies to build new, unexpected applications.”

How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results

McKinsey Quarterly reports on survey done in June 09 to understand the impact of Web 2.0 inside companies.

You’ll have to register (free) to read the entire report. Here are some quotes.

“Regardless of industry, executives at companies that use more Web 2.0 technologies also report greater benefits. Comparing respondents’ industries, those at high-technology companies are most likely to report measurable benefits from Web 2.0 across the board, followed by those at companies offering business, legal, and professional services.”

“Web 2.0 delivers benefits by multiplying the opportunities for collaboration and by allowing knowledge to spread more effectively. These benefits can accrue through companies’ use of automatic information feeds such as RSS2 or microblogs, of which Twitter is the most popular manifestation. Although many companies use a mix of tools, the survey shows that among all respondents deriving benefits, the more heavily used technologies are blogs, wikis, and podcasts—the same tools that are popular among consumers.”

“Many companies experiment with Web 2.0 technologies, but creating an environment with a critical mass of committed users is more difficult. The survey results confirm that successful adoption requires that the use of these tools be integrated into the flow of users’ work.”

Multitasking Muddles the Mind?

A Stanford University study seems to suggest that multitasking reduces intellectual efficiency.

“Nass [the author] says the study has a disturbing implication in an age when more and more people are simultaneously working on a computer, listening to music, surfing the Web, texting, or talking on the phone: Access to more information tools is not necessarily making people more efficient in their intellectual chores.”

Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens

The NY Times reports on something we intuitively knew was the case: Teenagers don’t tweet.

“Twitter’s unparalleled explosion in popularity has been driven by a decidedly older group. That success has shattered a widely held belief that young people lead the way to popularizing innovations.”

Debunking Social Media Myths

Insightful post by David Armano on sustaining a social media effort in the enterprise:

Seeding. As you plan your approach for designing your social system, take into account that you'll have to invest to grow your effort into a healthy ecosystem that can produce data, insights or even new ideas. People will be required in order to do this.

Feeding. Whether it's a community, Wiki or internal collaboration solution you've put in place, it will have to be fed with a steady stream of content. Some of this can be automated and some of it can come from your participants--but there has to be some editorial judgment made for every piece of content and functionality. People are required for that.

Weeding. A productive social business design will require efforts to prune and weed out material that can inhibit its growth (just like a garden). In some cases, automated moderation services can do this--but in others people will be required to ensure that interactions are productive. Weeding can also include creating a separate environment--for example, Nokia's "blog hub" encourages employees to vent freely internally (using anonymous aliases).You can bet that someone is looking at the data and analyzing it. If not, they should be.

Social Media in Plain English

From Common Craft: "This video focuses on basics of social media: new technology that makes everyone a producer and tools that give everyone a chance to have a say."

Ross Dawson on Web2.0 and KM

I'm at an IKMS session, listening to Ross Dawson talk about Web2.0 and KM. Here are the main points:

Interesting slide on how the value of the economy has increased dramatically over the years but the actual weight of products created has only marginally increased. Knowledge and services make up for the difference.

Web2.0 is about participation. In the past, we were cast as passive consumers, but now we are becoming active producers. In this way, Web2.0 is a social revolution.

The real turning point for this social revolution was Blogger and other free blogging platforms.

All this participation also results in a coherent structure or output, for example, a wikipedia article.

There is also a bit of exhibitionism in all these environments. We like to say and broadcast what we do and think.

Facebook is popular because it created a platform that enables anyone to create applications.

IBM's QEDWiki is a tool that allows brining together different applications and content. Gartner predicts (arguable) that IT budgets are going to fall over the years because of such new tools.

Knowledge management is more like media management. Its constructive to think about the merging of social media and mainstream media.

Because we are so busy, media is becoming shorter. Things are getting more and more concise.

It is essential that the human interactions be designed and understood to be better enabled (social network analysis).

Energy is the primary driver in social networks.

Catching up

I've been quite stressed out for the last few weeks. First, I got together with LogicalSteps, a new media design company, and organized a seminar on Infographics here in Singapore. We flew down Alberto Cairo of the elmundo.es fame. The seminar was a big success, so much so that we are already planning on organizing an Infographics Festival mid next year. In the meanwhile I am preparing a detailed blog entry to cover Cairo's talk. Second, my iBook crashed on me again. This is the second time in 4 months that the hard disk has given way. Luckily, I took a backup just before the crash, when I noticed a slowdown in operations (I remembered the same happening the last time around -- guess the slowdown-before-crash signal is going to be with me for a long time). I just wish NetNewsWire, the aggregator I use, had a facility to upload all my feeds into Bloglines so that I wouldn

First Monday: Beyond “Couch Potatoes”: From Consumers to Designers and Active Contributors

First Monday: Beyond "Couch Potatoes": From Consumers to Designers and Active Contributors
"Unfortunately, a large number of new media are designed from the perspective of seeing and treating humans primarily as consumers. In personally meaningful activities, the possibility for humans to be and to act as designers (in cases in which they desire to do so) should be accessible not only to a small group of "high-tech scribes," but rather to all interested individuals and groups. While the core message of the article applies to cultures, mindsets, media, technologies, and educational systems in general, my examples are mostly drawn from computational media, and more specifically from human computer interaction as a particular domain."

elearning Magazine: Moving the Camera

elearning Magazine: Moving the Camera
Content development is entering a new era because there

Darwin Magazine: The Blog Days of Summer

Darwin Magazine: The Blog Days of Summer
Academia is also probing and plotting the purpose of blogs. At the University of California-Berkeley, journalism students and a few, select others can take a course where they will produce a blog about intellectual property. Paul Grabowicz, director of the New Media program at Berkeley and one of the instructors of the class, says he doesn

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