May 10, 2013
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Remember when people thought only the great scholars and teachers held all the knowledge to bestow upon the lowly, ignorant masses? Or when government agencies moved forward with classified information kept from the public to keep them safe? (OK, I know intelligence operations still exist). Keeping knowledge from the public has always been a way of holding the power. As employee communications specialist Tarun Gill points out in Information sharing is power – not withholding it even within the corporate world there is a knowledge sharing paradigm shift.
Keeping knowledge to yourself as a means of power is now a false and hollow action thanks to social media because social media is all about being social, exchanging knowledge and sharing “the power” to connect our diversity of knowledge together for social benefit. In this way, the world IS becoming a better place, less guarded, more open, more connected and more understanding. This is not to say that some still use knowledge as a weapon for harm in this world or that knowledge shared on social media is all useful and beneficial. It’s not! But for those of us who recognize the power of social media to make a difference in the world there’s no longer a need for knowledge to be guarded under lock and key and hidden away.
Using social media for knowledge sharing to make the world a better place provides everyone with an opportunity to make a difference, not only sharing power but lessening the power-struggles that occur from not sharing knowledge. This is not only true for us “lowly and not so ignorant” masses in community but also for those academics and researchers in the ivory towers.
I’ve said it before…social media is NOT a fad. Social media is here to stay and when we begin to use it for more than just the latest gossip or movie reviews we can see the tremendous power of knowledge sharing for everyone that can be an effective tool in not only community and business environments, but academic and government sectors as well.
A couple of my recent blog posts urged Canada’s classic Networks of Centres of Excellence that are funded by the Canadian Federal government to become more active using social media tools such as Twitter for greater and broader knowledge mobilization efforts. Although I focused on getting the NCEs to be more active – especially on Twitter – here are a few tips for anyone to use to harness the power of social media for knowledge exchange and the co-production of new knowledge for social benefit.
- If you don’t have one already – create a Twitter account. For nothing else, it’s a great and easy place to start
- To avoid what is referred to as “shiny object syndrome” – zoom in on pertinent subject matter by using Twitter hashtags which will also establish connections with topics, people and sites that are relevant to your interests
- Don’t simply tweet without including links (unless you are engaging in the next bullet point)
- Tweet with a 140 character conversation to connect with others not only from your own country but internationally from around the world to facilitate the social in social media by engaging in dialogue and creating opportunities for further engagement and knowledge sharing with people from different cultures who also want to make the world a better place through knowledge exchange
As I urge everyone, if you don’t keep up with social media you run the risk of being left behind, not being connected, not able to contribute to making a difference in the world and sharing the new “power” of knowledge exchange for social benefit.
April 30, 2013
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We live in a complex social world where many different social forces contribute to the development and production of knowledge. By combining our knowledge we may help produce a cure for an illness, but we may also contribute to the construction of a destructive new weapon or a new addictive drug. Knowledge can improve lives and knowledge can also destroy lives. Knowledge can be used for good or harm. The moral purpose behind sharing knowledge is important, but the outcome of sharing knowledge can never be controlled or shaped by the original person sharing that knowledge. Should that stop us from sharing knowledge? Of course not. There are those who want to use knowledge as a weapon. Remember, anything can be used as a weapon. But also remember, not sharing knowledge out of fear leads to ignorance. When you share knowledge, start with the intention of sharing knowledge for good and not harm.
April 29, 2013
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I don’t want to die until I have fully shared my knowledge and refined the knowledge of others until even the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange help grow a better world for everyone. Call it idealistic or impossible. I see it as a way of contributing to something better rather than to something that is fatalistic or ignorant in this world.
I believe in the idea that each of us has knowledge to share. It is how knowledge is shared that will always make a difference. Even the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange can grow into tall trees, beautifully towering and majestic over the hurtful and hateful conditions that can wear us down on the ground. When we contribute to greater knowledge exchange we are contributing to the conditions that make the world a better place.
Whenever we share what we consider even the “insignificant” knowledge from the life experiences we were provided we can contribute something to the world that only we can contribute. When these unique seeds of knowledge are combined with the knowledge of others we grow and learn and develop further knowledge that becomes even more beneficial to the people who live in this world with me. Not just the people I know, but also the people I don’t know.
We will all die one day. Not knowing when or how. Each person wants to know they have somehow made a difference in life. Each person wants to know they have attempted to make a difference. We don’t have to change the world ourselves, but we can add something very valuable when we combine our knowledge with the knowledge of someone else to create greater understanding as the first steps to something even bigger and better beyond ourselves.
Start growing your own tree from the seeds of your own knowledge by sharing your knowledge with others and being open to the knowledge of others. You will see that the tiniest seeds of knowledge exchange can help grow a better world for everyone.