Name: Kartik Tomar
Student ID: 101790661
Role of Social Media in Knowledge Sharing and Transfer
No longer a negligible phenomenon, Social media tools like Linkedin, Facebook and YouTube have taken the world by a storm. Social media has become an accepted mainstream, altering personal relationships, allowing individuals to bestow upon a number of issues, and thereby engendering a hostful of new challenges and possibilities to lubricate alliance and collaboration. Organisations have a dire need of not only cornerstoning on innovation of new products and services, but also paying particular attention to effective knowledge sharing, which is of crucial importance for their accomplishment. Although our engrossment in social media is amplifying, on the other hand, knowledge workers and managers are waiting to get convoluted in this collaborative world, because they may not feel encouraged enough or they may be unaware of the pros of using these tools for work purposes. Thus it has become mandatory for organizations to foster stimulating employees to use social media technologies for work purposes in knowledge sharing.
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Organizations that need to thrive, operate and compete in an ever growing world should not leave the enhancement of knowledge within the organization. Since time immemorial, the world’s best known predictors of social change have forecasted the emergence of a new economy where knowledge, intellectualism and highbrows, not traditional sources of energy and machine power is the chief, foremost resource.
Social Media Technologies
Social media has umpteen wide definitions, such as “collaborative online applications and technologies which enable and encourage participation, conversation, openness, creation and socialization amongst a community of users” (Bowley, 2009:15), web-based tools and practices enabling participation and collaboration based on individuals’ activities (Storey et al, 2010). Surowiecki (2005) defined that social media is to make use of the “wisdom of the crowd”. A group of people are far better at problem solving, encouraging decision making than the individuals alone. New ways of fostering and exploiting knowledge sharing are forcing organizations to expand their knowledge sharing technologies and practices (Mentzas et al, 2007). The term “Web 2.0” was generated by O’Reilly Media in 2004 (O’Reilly, 2005). It refers to technologies that allow individuals to synergistically participate with information and with other individuals simultaneously, and to build networks based on mutual personal or professional interest. Web 2.0 facilitates social networking and therefore is also referred to as the social media. These technologies – blogs (like Blogger), video sharing (like YouTube), presentation sharing (like SlideShare), social networking service (like Facebook, LinkedIn), instant messaging service (like Skype) and groupware (like Google Docs) – foster a more socially connected platform (Anderson, 2007).
Social media technologies extensively help in knowledge transfer and sharing in a number of ways as discussed further. First and foremost is in communication. Social media provides new tools to share, collect and publish contents, express and discuss viewpoints and mindsets. Secondly, Social Media helps through blogs and micro blogs, for instance Blogger and Twitter, respectively. It also helps in Video and Presentation Sharing in the form of SlideShare and YouTube. Social media is also used to complete content by describing, addition or scrapping out the unwanted information. Social Media provides a visual bookmarking tool as well, for instance Pinterest.
Google Maps is another very crucial blessing of the Social media.
Facebook, as an external Social networking service helps foster a community to create a profile (and topic groups) with the sole goal to share information/knowledge to the followers (partners, potential customers) of their community page. Specific information should be shared only with the members; for a wider audience,news, blogs, commercials can also be published.
YouTube as an external video sharing site allows users to upload, view, and share videos, and it makes use of Adobe Flash Video to display a variety of individual or corporate matters.
Hence we find a host of opportunities provided to us by Social Media Technologies that contribute effectively in Knowledge Transfer and Sharing.
Amazingly rapid expansion of the content sharing technologies has led to many social media technologies becoming an integral part of many people’s monotonous daily routine. We can easily amalgamate and work with our colleagues at the opposite end of the world with the help of professional, fast instant messaging services in an effective way.
Enormous information and knowledge can be shared using powerful tools to a world in which the social factors play an essential role. In our new accelerated world, numerous technologies have been developed to support social capital connections (social networking services like Facebook, LinkedIn). For organizations that ensure value to knowledge sharing, integrating social media tools into their daily business life is essential to enable for the employees an easy access; and offer trainings to inexperienced users. Numerous opportunities exist using social media tools in action: Communication between employees can be encouraged to support problem solving: if organization needs an expert for a specific task, a post can be placed on a blog and likely receive a response from another employee or search on LinkedIn to find a person, who can help. Convert personal knowledge to organizational knowledge: if the senior employees record videos about their work and share it with the new employees, the organization can use these videos instead of expensive training programs to explain the details. Discuss professional problems: with a group of people who are active practitioners in a particular area, professional communities (communities of practices – CoP) can be useful because they are neutral and can provide a way to share best practices, ask questions of and provide support for each other outside the organization.
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We have hypothesized that younger generations have a greater willingness to use social media technologies. After our investigations we can state however that the members of Generation Y (younger generation) or employees with lower level position are less likely social media technologies in the workplace. We would postulate that this is because social media tools are more common among young people but they use them for private purposes, while using these tools for work (mainly for knowledge sharing or professional development) is more typical for Generation X and Baby Boomers (elder generations). In 1993 Drucker predicted how Knowledge Economy will need to progress in order to obtain competitive advantage. He stated that “the productivity of knowledge is going to be the determining factor in the competitive position in a company, an industry, an entire country. No country, industry or company has any ‘natural’ advantage or disadvantage. The only advantage it can possess is the ability to exploit universally available knowledge.
- Bowley, R. C. (2009) ’A comparative case study: Examining the organizational use of social networking sites’, Thesis, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, [Online]
- Mentzas, G., Kafentzis, K. and Georgolios, P. (2007) Knowledge services on the Semantic Web, Communications of the ACM, vol. 50, pp. 53-58
- Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., Silvestere, B. C. (2011) Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional blocks of social media, Business Horizons, vol. 54, no. 3
- Gray, P. H. (2001) The Impact of Knowledge Repositories on Power and Control in the Workplace, Information Technology and People, vol. 14, no. 4
- Wang, S. and Noe, R. A. (2010) Knowledge sharing: A review and directions for future research, Human Resource Management Review, vol. 20, pp. 115–131.
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