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Google Wave all washed up

While momentum around social technologies has been great, understanding how to most effectively take advantage of these tools is still evolving. The recent crash of Google Wave is clear evidence of that. The naysayers might chalk this up as another failure of social technologies, but I think it's just the opposite.

The demise of Google Wave simply validates that the right kind of social technology is positioned for great success. At Inmagic, context has been our bread, and content our butter since entering the social scene in 2008. In a September 2009 blog post, Inmagic CTO Phil Green summed up that which makes Inmagic different:
"Social knowledge networks (SKNs) created using Presto are differentiated because the core product capability begins with having an existing knowledge repository (or 'information honey pot'). Presto then enables that content to be socialized in a controlled environment.
Why is this approach different? Because it is not based on sharing for sharing's sake. Sharing for sharing's sake will likely be the demise of many vendors because it requires mass users and frequent input to get the system going and ingrained in the everyday workflow."
Organizations have failed to achieve their social objectives because social technologies have been simply added on to their existing intranets or portals, without much thought given to what this means to the end user.

What benefit does an R&D scientist derive from having access to a social technology? How does Web 2.0 help a marketing professional get their job done faster and better? How does an engineer gain insight into the proposal development process?

In Social Knowledge Networks (SKNs), context is everything and always has been. When given context, people using social technologies have a reason for connecting, and begin to extract the true value of these technologies.

Context is achieved through content. For the R&D scientist, it is the drug discovery report written by a colleague in another department. For the marketing professional, it is the market research analysis written by a coworker in a field office. For the engineer, it is the comments written by company experts on a proposal document.

People will connect when there is context, because they have a shared reference point, a reason to connect. Collaboration happens and problem solving accelerates because the socially connected people have a basis for their discussion, not merely because they can now post their comments.

Content is the backbone of a successful social knowledge management strategy and context is the lifeblood. It's not just about connecting people together. It's about how we use that interaction and bring people together to solve a business problem.

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