The previous blog post 'Knowledge Sharing through Conversations - a Homage to Twitter' already illustrated the strength of Twitter-kind-of-technologies. It highlighted how powerful conversations are via these technologies in order to share knowledge with people who you did not know before. So you did not know that you needed to share that particular knowledge to that particular person. A great story about how it is to create and share knowledge in networks and probably already convincing enough to you. However, I want to share another great story which I experienced today. This story goes far beyond the idea of being a part of a network to make yourself heard. Let me first share the story with you.
Friday 28 May 2010 (around 8h00)
From 2005 to 2007 I worked together with @kattebelletje in the Netherlands on migrating the data from a library catalogue. The project was finished in 2007, I left the business, moved to London, moved to Copenhagen and we did not have that much contact anymore. However, Twitter managed to connect us and I kept an eye on her. This morning I saw she sent out a message via Twitter with a picture. I scanned the message and what I read was 'Regent Street', 'Apple' and 'Tweetphoto'. Even though I did not read the message, my eyes were triggered, because I knew Regent Street from my stay in London and I like watching pictures so that a message gets more context. Additionally, the message was sent by @kattebelletje.
Was she in London? If so, what was she doing in London? In a split second I scanned the 3 words from the message, I asked myself these questions and I clicked on the link to the picture. The picture on the left shows you what I saw. Not knowing what was going on there, I clicked it away and continued with my work. I was really thinking this was one of my moments where I lost valuable time by looking at these 'meaningless' things via Twitter - time I could have better used to work without having such an interruption.
Friday 28 May 2010 (around 8h30)
It was 30 minutes after I saw the meaningless picture and did I learn from wasting my time? No, because I saw an other message from somebody not related to @kattebelletje at all. It was a message from @dereckbreuning. A couple of months ago I was his lecturer in knowledge management. Since that time I also follow him and once a time his messages are attracting my attention. And this was a message that attracted my attention. Why do you think? Yes! Can you see it? @dereckbreuning used similar keywords in his message as the ones that triggered me before. By scanning the message I saw 'Apple' and 'Oxford Circus'. And because I have experiential knowledge the London streets (for 1 1/2 year I biked through London) I immediately knew that Oxford Circus is more or less the same as Regent Street. I knew that this message would be related to the previous message from @kattebelletje.
However, it seemed that @dereckbreuning was in London and planning to travel to the Apple store at Regent Street, while @kattebelletje was in The Hague and 'retweeted'/forwarded the picture because she probably enjoyed seeing all the people standing in the line for just an iPad. Additionally, as this all was occuring in my network, I was still able to give @dereckbreuning knowledge about what was happening at Regent Street - knowledge that I shared while working from my office in Copenhagen. As a result, I had sent @dereckbreuning the message on the left.
A meaningless message at 8h00 in the morning resulted in a meaningful message at 8h30. Even though @dereckbreuning still went to Regent Street, he could have prepared himself better by bringing a warm jacket, coffee or umbrella with him, because he got to know through me (located in Copenhagen) that there was a big queue at Regent Street (in London). I hope he saw my message before he left and that he took these precautions, because a couple of hours later @dereckbreuning replied with the message on the left.
This story shows the value of networking and being a networker. A collection of fragmented knowledge (the messages of @kattebelletje and @dereckbreuning) resulted in valuable knowledge. I do think that mobile communication technology is playing such a crucial role in the way how we can be better informed in the future. Imagine when more and more people are using these technologies, more and more people are sharing fragmented knowledge, and more and more people are recombining the fragmented knowledge and make it useable to the context the people are in. That what future learning is. Whether you want to call it informal learning, mobile learning or what else, it is a new way of learning that increasingly is becoming a part of our daily lives. Finally, the story also shows how valuable wasting time is. Or should we just look differently to time when working in knowledge intensive economies?