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Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

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140 characters to knowledge share

In regards to a support team or customer service I’m thinking a micro-blogging network (like Twitter) behind the firewall is a good idea. Some options are ReVou, SocialCast, and other Open Source offerings.

Using wikis and blogs are a great idea for support staff to inform each other of findings, experiences, workarounds, solutions as they happen.
This is called social learning where we learn from each other, which is essential as whoever wrote the procedures is not going to know the context of every unique situation upfront (the procedures may sometimes be a “dead-end”, and errors occur anyway), so leveraging user captured informal nuggets in blogs and wikis enables you to go “through the wall”.

But from my experience, not everyone could be bothered sharing, or has time before they move onto their next task.

The idea is we use blogs and wikis rather than an email list, but what about those people who didn’t even share using the email list.

There are many times when colleagues at work discover something in our office, but are too busy to blog about it, this is when micro-blogs comes into the picture.
People may find blog posting takes up too much time because they treat it as formal publishing, and fair enough (I covered this in my KM 2.0 Culture post). We have tried to overcome this with posting to a blog by email, making it feel very informal, now you can “flick a blog post”, just like you “flick an email”.

Anyway I feel that people will indeed post to a micro-blog as the content is the length of an SMS, ie. a max of 140 characters. This is not hard at all, and the format encourages a type of informalness.
Another low barrier is posting via email or some sort of app that’s real easy to get to and post, perhaps via the browser or a desktop widget. Actually micro-blog posting via IM feels right, it feels more casual and something people may be inclined to do, unlike a blog they are not fearing that lot’s of people will see their published post, in fact micro-blog streams fall off the radar quite quickly.

This is not a mirror replacement for typical blog content, using micro-blogs we also tend to share stuff we wouldn’t blog, more akin to IM…so this makes blogs and micro-blogs (or presence networks) very complementary.

eg. word 2003 is giving me grief with editing documents in our DMS…arghh
eg. server 3 is down, hmmm
[email protected] what dates will you be away again?
eg. wondering why personA can’t create a project
eg. it seems we don’t communicate enough to groupA, they need to be in the loop
eg. does anyone know where pluginA lives?
eg. hmm, we need a new drop down menu reason for supporting CoP issues in our database
eg. @colleagueB how did you go with getting that a user an external login?

None of the above examples suit a regular blog post, some resemble quick emails and IM, but some don’t even suit IM eg. word 2003 is giving me grief with editing documents in our DMS…arghh
- this is not a blog post, it’s more what you are experiencing now, but still you are publishing like a blog post
- it’s not email or IM as you are not directing this at anyone, you are just thinking out loud

Some of the other examples could be an email or IM, but micro-blogging allows more of an open conversation, anyone listening could jump in.

Essentially micro-blogs are very effortless and more chatty and I feel the format and social experience we have will lend it to being used more, I elaborated on this in another post:

“…I think Twitter is more prone, easier, less commited than blogs to express tacit know-how, and to offer help which also shares tacit know-how. Actually conversation is where it’s at, and an internal Twitter marketed the right way will be the optimal example of what we want out of KM 2.0 (conversation exchange).”

I expressed this in my Tumblr a little while ago:

“Twitters value contribution to the knowledge flow-spontaneous, unpolished, work in progress, thinking out loud-lends itself to this type or quality of participation due to its brief, immediate, and intimate publishing format…let’s hope internal blogs generate the same calibre of tacit value without being hindered by their format.””

Read the original blog entry...

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