November 19, 2008

KM vs Social Media: Give Peace a Chance

A few weeks ago the blogosphere was hopping in response to the KM vs SM generational war piece Venkatesh Rao launched on an unsuspecting world. I responded at the time that declaration of war was first published, as did other thoughtful folks. Now Venkat's piece has been republished in Social Computing Magazine, alongside Jeff Kelly's rebuttal.

Jeff argues that while some resistance to change is inevitable among human beings, it is unfair to characterize all knowledge managers as resistant to change. In Jeff's personal experience, there are "many more eager adopters than resistant dinosaurs." In fact, many knowledge managers I know have been excited and energized by the possibilities for KM offered by social media. To be honest, much of the resistance to social media that I've observed lately has been exhibited by managers who were skeptical about KM in the first place. This isn't so much about age as it is about outlook and experience.

I'm inclined to agree with Jeff that there is much more constructive peace than destructive war between the generations on this issue. His prognosis of the current situation rings true:
Our technology and society will continue to evolve; people will continue to be resistant to (but finally adapt to) change; youth will continue to disdain their elders until they become tempered by wisdom; and the opportunities to learn and prosper will continue to grow for those wise enough to do so.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.

3 comments:

Mary Abraham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christian DE NEEF said...

I believe that the times of traditional KM with lots of discipline & structure are over... but the Knowledge is in the conversation these days (always been!) and the Social Media are now supporting that evolution. So maybe, Social Media is KM's savior! And KM is finally becoming mainstream?

Mary Abraham said...

Christian -

I've heard it said that when "knowledge management" becomes simply "good management," KM will finally be mainstream. By that measure, I'm not sure we've arrived yet.

- Mary