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Pump up the jam

Just when you thought we couldn't possibly use the word "social" any more frequently on the blog, we're kicking it up a notch. And to do so, we're using *drum roll!* the "social volume knob."

But before I completely drown myself out, let me explain what a social volume knob is, and why it's important. It's the next step in our Road to Social Knowledge Networks, and the little caveat I mentioned in my last installment.

Social knowledge networks allow vetted information -- such as documents, images, videos, presentations, RSS feeds, and so on -- to be enhanced and informed by comments, ratings, and other feedback from the community. This combination of top down and bottom up information is how we create social intelligence.

But social intelligence must be cultivated, planned, and nurtured. This is where a social volume knob becomes crucial. A social volume knob is the strategy organizations use to control who provides what knowledge to the SKN, and how they do so.

Organizations can set these parameters using rich security, access, and permission functionality. So, depending on the company, the community that is allowed to provide feedback can run the gamut from a small, hand-picked group of domain experts, to a broader set of individuals.

Each contributor's access capabilities can be adjusted, so perhaps one person can blog, rate, and comment, while another can just comment -- and only on certain content. This lets vetted information retain its veracity, and provides control over what content gets socialized, and how.

Otherwise, you have a free-for-all of opinions without authority. Consider Wikipedia. Any regular reader to our blog is all too familiar with my opinions on Wikipedia. While hugely successful and helpful for certain situations, its information sorely lacks veracity.

The same can be true in an enterprise environment, where you end up with what I call "social spam." It's similar to e-mail spam, but in a social media setting. This is the bad information provided by non-experts. Using social tools requires some level of control and mediation. You need rules.

That's also why info professionals must be at the center of the SKN and social library equation. They are knowledge management professionals trained to organize information. They understand the user community, and who is best equipped to create and act on content.

Info professionals create the environment necessary to publish content, and develop knowledge communities around that content. This includes implementing a knowledge strategy to ensure contributors are helping to build, maintain, and manage the social library in a logical, organized fashion.

Key take-away: All social knowledge networks need a social volume knob for quality control.

And with that kernel of knowledge, we've reached the end of the Road to Social Knowledge Networks! But no journey is complete without a look back on the lessons learned, and a look ahead to where we go from here. That will be the subject of next week's post.

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