Last couple of months I have been working on rolling out social bookmarking in an organisation. You would probably think: why social bookmarking? Luis Suarez once labelled social bookmarking in his post The Business Case for Enterprise Social Bookmarking: $4.6 Million a Year in Cost Savings as "one of the fundamental pillars from Enterprise 2.0". And I believe that it is a powerful tool which organisations can use to enhance both internal and external knowledge sharing.
After rolling out a start-up programme in using Delicious as social bookmarking platform for a couple of the client's staff members, I moved to a part in which I offered them a way or strategy how they should re-use personal social bookmark collections in order to enhance internal and external knowledge sharing.
To me social bookmark tools - together with all the other social media tools - can only become a success when staff members are using these tools from a personal point of view. If the staff member can answer the question:"what is it in for me?", it could become a big success.
So, will a staff member answers the question 'what is it in for me' positively when an organisation imposes many rules and restrictions on the use of social bookmarking (like you need to include this tag, or you cannot add stuff that is related to things outside working hours). No, the adaptation to social bookmarking will not be embraced and therefore organisations should give staff members to social bookmark what they want.
Another issue why organisations should not impose rules & regulations on the use of social bookmarking, is that it will then become fun to social bookmark, but also messy and fragmented. In particular these two elements are crucial for a learning culture. Dave Snowden once listed the 7 principles on rendering knowledge and three of them relate to the messiness and fragmentation. He argues that:
- Knowledge can only be volunteered, it cannot be conscripted;
- we only know what we know when we need to know it, and;
- everything is fragmented
So this means that organisations should let staff members do what they want to do with their PERSONAL social bookmark accounts. With regard to Delicious, this means that organisations should not ...:
- ... ask staff to add a unique tag when it is organisational-related;
- ... ask staff to forward the specific social bookmark directly to someone in charge of keeping organisational bookmark accounts clean;
- ... ask staff to mark bookmarks as private if not related to the organisation
- ... ask staff to social bookmark in a common social bookmark account (i.e. just one account for the whole organisation)
It is clear that all of the four potential strategies are harming a learning culture in which internal and external knowledge sharing improves. Because how nice would it be to find out that somebody in the organisation is also bookmarking about fishing and you like this too. By letting staff bookmark what they want an organisation is certainly improving internal knowledge sharing / communication. Social bookmarking is then becoming the organisational water cooler where conversations flow. But on the other hand, when you let everybody bookmark what they want, an organisation cannot automatically re-use and re-mix it on, for example, the organisational website or publish it on Twitter through which Flipboard can make a content-specific magazine uniquely to the organisation. Ways that improve the external communication and knowledge sharing
To make sure that social bookmarking is helping on both sides (internal and external knowledge sharing) I propose a social bookmarking adaptation strategy.
Not surprisingly I argue that there should be a moderator. This could be someone who already made his or her living to filter information. In organisations they are often known as librarians, or in modern times they are called information professionals or brokers. These people should moderate the accounts of colleagues and filter the ones interested to the organisation into an organisational account. This is how an organisation can maintain a clean list of high-valuable resources.
This strategy is about that the organisation is pulling the content from staff instead of that staff is pushing content to the organisation.