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What is a social knowledge network, anyway??

We've been talking about social knowledge networks a lot, and have described them in various ways on the blog. But today, you're in for a full serving of social knowledge networks with all the fixins'. It's the next and final stage along the Road to Social Knowledge Networks, and I'll detail exactly what the heck they are.

Now that we're at the final step of our journey, I like to say we've reached nirvana. The ideal destination for today's info pro. (But this is not to say there's no room for improvement and innovation. We believe SKNs are the nirvana of today, and there inevitably will be new nirvanas in the future as technology and needs evolve.)

In a nutshell, we define SKNs as a tight integration of a knowledge repository and social media. It is a place where socialization is "content centric." Core knowledge, also known as top-down or vetted information, is collected, organized and made accessible. This might include internal documents, news and research.

This knowledge can then be embraced and enhanced by the community, aptly dubbed "wisdom of the community," or bottom-up information. This consists of people's knowledge, opinions, and feedback about vetted information. In the SKN, the top down and bottom up information remain tightly integrated in the core repository using context-based social tools, including comments, ratings, tagging and tag clouds, and blogging.



What we have, then, is a centralized knowledgebase that keeps getting smarter, as info pros and users alike improve the content using social tools. This lets organizations achieve what we call "social intelligence." It is the state where problems are solved and insights are gained through a knowledge repository, collaboration, and context-based social tools.

This is, of course, the goal. A social knowledge network is a one-stop shop for information. It's a secure place where content and social media can be controlled, and the community can enhance and inform the content.

Key take-away: Knowledge is more than vetted research, books, or image repositories. And it's more than social communications and networking. It's the combination of the two: social knowledge networks.

So what, you say? Well, just as the central knowledgebase keeps getting smarter, so does the organization, and in more ways than one. More on the business benefits of SKNs next week.

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