Saturday, 8 August 2009

The evolution of social media tools - more than just a hammer

Consider the building trade. Think about't olden days, we had rudimentary tools - maybe an axe, a hammer, nothing very specific. As time moved on, tools have evolved to the extent that we now have a tool for everything you could imagine - there's even a thingymigig for removing old bath sealant.

Consider social media tools - to begin with, we just had a few basic tools - wikis, blogs, discussion groups. Now we have so much more. Variations on a theme, yes, but those variations make all the difference, and usability, just like with tools, means some things are better suited than others to the job. You want to write about the pros and cons say of communities of practice over action learning sets, you write a blog post. You want to share a link to a great presentation, you use a microblogging site like Twitter. You want to develop a policy document with 10 contributors, you use a wiki. You wouldn't try to develop said policy document via Twitter, you know it's not the best tool for the job.

Just like having the right screwdriver for the right screw, its clear that the right combination of social media tools can do the job better than using 1 tool alone ie writing a blog post then telling people you just posted via Twitter is a great way to let people know it's there. A discussion group to support the development of a wiki page based on an idea posted in a blog = an effective combination.

We're starting to adapt our ways of working to the tools we use. As we become more familiar with what these tools can do, it seems that we're also filling gaps, creating tools which do the jobs have but can't yet do.

This is quite exciting (I know, I should get out more). It makes me wonder what's being created by some enterprising person to help us collaborate and share to the degree that we have the equivalent of a thingymigig which removes sealant from the bath...

Maybe in sharing and collaborating using social media tools, we'll develop a sociological and psychological understanding which mirrors our grasp of construction, supported by exactly the right tools for the job.


Kaka said...

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