Below is a blog post I wrote yesterday and published here . I thought I would share it in this community for those of you who wouldn't see it otherwise.

 

As a result of two tweets I just read; one from @SameerPatel and the  other from @ralphmercer, I wanted to get a thought down before it  recedes forever into the darkest corners of my brain, where I know I  will feel the remnants of its presence, but will also never be able to  fully recall it.

 

Based on something Sameer said I went to Google Trends and searched  on the terms "Knowledge Management" and "Social Media". In the past  almost two years, with the exception of a large drop at the end of 2009,  and a slight dip at what looks like the end of June in 2010, Social  Media searches have been steadily increasing. During that same time  period, searches for Knowledge Management - which are now less than a  fifth of the searches for Social Media have remained arguably steady,  with perhaps a bit of a continuous waning.

 

I suppose some would suggest this portends the eventual death of KM,  but I really don't think that true . . . or even possible. KM has always  been based on the belief that we humans are unique in our ability to  pass knowledge on to others, as well as to collectively create new  knowledge and retain it for future use.

 

As I had suggested to Ralph, and what he was kind enough to point out  in his tweet, is the reality that it's "very expensive to reacquire  knowledge". This isn't something anybody wants to do, anymore than they  want to produce re-work or scrap. Yet people seem to be mulling over the  viability of KM for the future.

 

I think the reality is two-fold. First, the need for sharing and  re-using knowledge or information continues as strong as it's ever been.  What it's called is of little consequence and, if KM has gotten a bad  rep, then let's move on and call it something else.

 

Second, I believe a lot of what we mean when we refer to social media  is actually the next iteration of KM, insofar as it enhances  collaboration, sharing, finding out what others are doing, etc., as well  as captures and makes available collective knowledge and wisdom.

 

So, what do you think? Has KM run its course, or is it just taking on  a new "identity" in the form of social media and (something I don't  think I mentioned above) Enterprise 2.0?

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