Is Social Networking Good for Learning?
Chief Learning Officer
Enterprise social networks are private internal software platforms designed to engage employees while fostering collaboration, communication, knowledge sharing and informal learning.
|Scooped by Dr. Dan Kirsch|
I'm almost not sure where to start with this one....but what starts out as a potentially interesting read that discusses the important connection between social networking (sharing knowledge) and learning and knowledge management, fairly quickly is reduced to a discussion of the technological side of things.
Consider this sound bite: "Technology is considered a strategic asset for many organizations and is recognized as an integral part of business strategy because organizations can use it to maximize employees’ contributions and performance."
I have to give that one a good ole grade of "F" because it is flat out wrong. Not that many organizations don't consider technology to be a strategic asset, but rather that technology isn't a strategic asset. Well, generally speaking. Unless of course you have single-handedly just created a unique bit of social networking technology that is unknown to any other organization on the planet that allows for unique knowledge capture and sharing. And even then I give it a very short innovation head start period before others are following that lead.
Technology, and choosing to have it and to use it isn't really ground breaking. And it's not a strategy. That's akin to suggesting that utilizing cell phones is a strategy. IT is a tool. Having a tool isn't a strategy. It is a tool. And having a technology that everyone else has does not maintain the organization's capacity to determine its future well-being (which is pretty much the definition of a "strategic asset").
The reality of it is that if you intend to use social networking to support your organizational learning (and I'm suggesting that you should do that) and you recognize the importance of that social networking to knowledge sharing (which is clearly linked to organizational learning)....then it's probably time to start considering what your social networking goals are. What that strategy is. And how exactly (and I mean exactly) social networking fits within the organization's Knowledge Management and Learning strategies. And how those stategies are tied to the overarching organizational strategy.
My point is that if you breeze through this article you will see that the only discussion of strategy though is the above quote, which suggested that technology is an integral part of strategy and that it is a strategic asset. No other discussion of strategy.
And that speaks to exactly why so many organizations aren't truly reaping the benefits from social networking. They simply have no strategy. It is ad hoc. It happens on its own terms, without regard for determining how what knowledge that is being transferred and captured might improve the organizational learning and then contribute to the big picture goals.
A lot of those organizations who tout their "success" at social networking....are simply lucky. Not consistent. Not making cultural reforms. And therein wasting organizational learning opportunities.