A FastForward blog post today addressed the potential of Twitter to transform or at least significantly impact knowledge management. The apparent oxymoron caught my attention. How can the lifestreaming of information snippets with a shelf life shorter than the life span of a fruit fly really impact knowledge management?
I don’t tweet. I have an account and have, of course, gotten in there as part of my research to see what is going on but I have not integrated it yet into my work or personal life. Why, because I put out a great deal of information on a daily basis whether writing, presenting, or in conversations with clients. I have not seen the value add of Twitter in my needs for information dissemination (I’m not saying it won’t ever happen – see below) but so far it does not fill some gaping need. Likewise, I am always looking for improved means of acquiring good information (measured as getting the most quality info in my head with the least overhead cost). Twitter has fallen short here as well.
One thing this piece does bring out is where I think the real value may be; alerting. Driving awareness might be the real value here. Twitter is an alert system that can cut into e-mail’s strangle hold. Here is where Twitter can fit into Web 2.0\E2.0 frameworks like the SLATES framework from Harvard Professor Andrew McAfee (S is for Signals) and My PLANT SEEDS framework (or free podcast). The T is for Tipping Point and the D is for discover-ability and these are where Twitter can play a significant role.
However, this can be a double edged sword since the potential for overload is even more enormous than e-mail. One thing I like about the Twitter approach and what may yet bring me to tweet regularly is the focus on people. I get to choose exactly who I wish to hear from. This is difficult with e-mail. I can join an e-mail distribution list but this is topical not really social (social with a focus on people).
So what do you think? Are you using it to alert people or to be alerted? Are you using Twitter (or micro-blogging) for knowledge management? If so, how?