Search Or Communities …Posted: October 30, 2008 | |
No, i dont think they are mutually exclusive. Interesting post by Nirmala … where she is posing the question … about what is it that lets your choose between google and wikipedia? to my mind, not much … or, to put it differently, when i search on google, more often than not, wikipedia results are among the first few to appear.
Now, this is interesting. Nirmala mentions someone being of the opinion that the rise of social networking would spell the end of search. While, on the face of it, this sounds like a tempting assumption, this is probably a bit of an oversimplification. Let me put it this way … if i am looking for something, i search. If someone on my network has found something, and i find it useful, i go through it. The opinion here seems to be a bit too much of a stretch, if you ask me.
Lets look at it this way … social networking is about knowing who you know, and this leads to (more often than not) knowing what you know. And the two, to my mind, are related, but different things. What could happen (and this is something i have been looking at, for some time now …) is that search could change … in the way tools enable users to interact with them. One of the possibilities is the availability of aggregators, or the possibility of searching for opinions.
In other words, and this is something i have been chatting about on the KM India Forum as well (as i am sure, my friend Sumeet Anand would agree …), that “collaboration”, and what i like to call “codification” are complementary, and not competitive in terms of the value they can add to the larger KM initiatives, and stressing on one, to the deteiment of the other, is not something which is nice. And if we agree with this, we would also tend to agree with the idea that content is an integral part of the knowledge inventory of the organization, and as long as this is so, search (in some form or the other), must also be around.
Where, then, does this bring social networking? To my mind, social networking is about bringing value which was not possible with the “KM 1.0” paradigm of the 90s. This is more about bringing the people aspect into the entire way of doing things, which was lacking. Now, one could argue that documents originate from people, and hence, looking at the people aspect should be enough to enable us to not look at the “codification” aspect, but the point remains that its not possible for you to know everyone in the organization (even if you are working in a mid-sized organization), and hence, to some extent, it is imperative to abstract knowledge, and this is where the content, and the search aspects come in.