Business Knowledge Sharing Through Social Networking

If there is anything that is helping businesses today, it is the social networking sites that have appeared online in the past decade. With these social network sites, people are able to stay connected and share a special kind of knowledge, outside just pure data, with other people and organizations.

This kind of knowledge is also known as ‘tacit knowledge’ which is knowledge that is accumulated over time and is exactly neither explicit nor accessible to people around us. Dr. David Jacobson the PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Director of Emerging Technologies says that social networking has opened businesses up to a whole new arena of unlocking this kind of language and sharing it with others online.

Today, as it has been in the past, the tacit knowledge that we have accumulated over the years has been transmitted from person to person via conversations, face to face meetings, social events and functions, telephone conversations, and other traditional ways. Today and tomorrow, however, through the wonders of the internet and the boom in social networking sites, people are able to swap tacit knowledge, without the barriers of culture or time zones.

Social networking, with its chats, messaging, wall-to-wall posts, photo sharing, shout-outs, and status messages, have made it so much easier for people to communicate whether they are online or not. Whatever they exchange in these cyber meetings and conversations is the tacit knowledge that they accumulate, process, reprocess, and share all over again.

Social Networking and the Internal Workings of a Company

Social networking is now having a large effect on how companies are now run or how employees communicate with one another. This has a further effect on the kind of information that they share with each other, a great part of this is tacit knowledge. According to the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business’s Associate Professor of Information Systems, Nicole Haggerty, this tacit knowledge can actually be liberated. This is something that social networking in the internal office and company setting can work towards.

Haggerty describes tacit knowledge to be experimental knowledge that is deeply ingrained and embedded in people’s minds. Because this tacit knowledge makes up a large part of who they are, it is also a kind of knowledge that is difficult to express out loud in words, or in communications media that everyone is used to. But, the best way to convey this tacit knowledge is simply through conversation, which social media and networking supports well through its different tools and applications that allows people to hold online conversations.

Haggerty also sees tacit knowledge to be highly valuable. Because it is not easily codified or expressed in traditional systems of knowledge management, it is not easily conveyed learned by others through traditional ways either. And this is where social networking comes in to bridge that gap.

Because of social networking and media, businesses should focus more on getting people connected and talking rather than trying to codify experiences through traditional publications, knowledge organization, and databases where we usually try to store all concrete information. By allowing people to network and connect, a whole new way of learning for increased company productivity is actually possible in the future.

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