KMbeing

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

Monthly Archives: April 2010

KMb Funny: Digital Old & New

In the past…

An application was for employment…

A program was a TV show…

A cursor meant profanity…

A keyboard was a piano…

Memory was something lost with age…

A CD was a bank account…

And a hard drive was a long road trip.

How things have changed.

3 Types of Knowledge

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)


I recently read and enjoyed The Blog of Steve Schwartz: No One Knows What the F*** They’re Doing (or “The 3 Types of Knowledge”).  Schwartz humorously states there are 3 types of knowledge, “There’s the shit you know, the shit you know you don’t know, and the shit you don’t know you don’t know.” He even illustrates the categories using a simple pie chart:

Although this uncomplicated approach to knowledge may seem slightly vulgar or crude, it does bring up the importance of knowledge mobilization in helping to widen the first category. Schwartz rightly points out that there is a “disconnect” between the proported goal of education and experience and the actual goal of education and experience. Schwartz makes the bold statement that…

“Everyone is as Clueless as You, If Not More”

…and he’s right.  Which is why the more we share our knowledge and collaborate using social media and social collaboration the more connected we become in knowledge – as well as in society.  For a further interesting read see The Relationship Economy.Sharing knowledge is the key element in breaking down not only intellectual barriers, but social barriers as well. There will always be stuff in the last two categories, but that doesn’t mean these divisions are static and unchangeable.

The flip-side of this equation is that once you take the step to learn more about the stuff  “you know you don’t know”, you might just learn something about the stuff “you don’t know you don’t know”.

By putting available knowledge “into active service” – letting others know what you know, being open to the stuff that others know, and learning the stuff that others know – we might just be able to make our own knowledge  section of the pie much bigger.

On Twitter, I retweeted @Machobudda who points out…

“Not every bit of it (knowledge) is even of INTEREST to everyone”

and he’s right.  But even if you’re not interested at least you still have the knowledge.  It may be knowledge that’s different from yours, knowledge that you don’t necessarily agree with – but it’s still knowledge.

So keep scanning the web, keep sharing stories verbally or literarily, keep listening to what others have to say (locally and globally) in blogs or in journal logs – and keep sharing your knowledge. And then you’ll be taking a bigger piece of the pie!

The Echo of Social Media Past, Present & Future

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)


I frequently use Wikipedia to define information – as I was about to do for this blog to explain social media (for those still unfamiliar with this term). I also frequently do a Google Search to find websites (new and old) to reflect on past research, gather information for my current research, and get ideas for future projects as a digital researcher. Although I found a blog post from 2008, its current relevance prompted me to take pause to question my own knee-jerk Wiki-p reaction, and re-evaluate my own presumed understanding of past views about social media and what the ever-evolving social media means today.

Furthermore, I frequently skip over online marketing websites, but made an exception for this new found older link – AriWriter.  I had never heard of Ari Herzog before, but was impressed. His blogs can be applied way beyond mere marketing, and as Ari professes, it’s an excellent website for “social media tips”. Ari Herzog’s archives are full of insight, and worth the time to read some of his latest as well.

Before clicking the link away as just another out-dated or annoying online marketing scheme, I saw that Ari rightly continues to point out how “Everyone sources Wikipedia as the tell-all for definitions, but the volunteer-driven site currently uses this vague sentence (not so anymore): “Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings.” And Ari’s right. According to this out-dated version of the Wikipedia definition,  it sounds like a rather limiting one don’t you think? The latest Wikipedia entry does a much better job. (It sounds like Ari’s Wikipedia statement got heard and appropriate changes were made!).

Ari goes on to present a number of other definitions by social media practitioners up to the time Ari wrote his October 2008 blog (Robert Scoble, Feb. 2007; Isabel Walcott Hillborn, Oct. 2007; Mark Dykeman at Broadcasting Brain, Feb. 2008; Joseph Thornley at Thornley Fallis, Apr. 2008; Jim Cuene, May 2008; Santosh Maharshi, May 2008; Ben Parr, Aug. 2008; David at Marketing Integrity, Sep. 2008; John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing, Sep. 2008).

Ari was following a suggestion by Jason Falls (a social media explorer) to escape the echo chamber. Jason wrote about the fashionably-cool use of the term social media after attending a Blog World & New Media Expo in 2008. (The Expo advertises an extensive gathering of media mavericks and thought leaders). But Jason seems to have walked away from the event feeling as if many of his fellow social media experts need to pass on their knowledge outside of the Expo “echo chamber” to those who don’t know what social media is, or how to use it for its best and most promising potential. I wonder if any of his fellow social media practitioners have followed his advice since that Expo?

Ari picked up the gauntlet early on, and because of the Twitter-ification of social media –  challenged his blog readers to think about what social media is, and asked the question

Ari’s followers provided some interesting comments and definitions.

Two things I like about returning to older blogs: how our definitions continue to evolve as web-technology evolves; and how past experiences, ideas, and knowledge teach us something about the present, and make us think about the future.

The daily expanse and speed at which new webtools are being provided, and the personalized ways that information is being shared can make it difficult for any non-savvy individual or business to keep up with social media. Yet, as Jason and Ari state, the first step is defining what something is to better understand it, and then making it known. A final step is always re-evaluating and redefining.

As for my own definition of what social media is for the present…

Online social interaction of sharing experience, information, and knowledge that includes various forms of communication, collaboration, presentation, opinions, entertainment, and branding…(for now).


Web 3.0 (known as The Semantic Web) is on its way and is expected to be as revolutionary as Web 2.0.  I wonder what the definition of social media will be in the future?

A Tale of Two Cindys

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)


Cindy King is Managing Editor of Social Media Examiner and a cross-cultural marketer who helps businesses develop globally by using social media. Recently, she helped answer a comment question from a person following her blog, Cindy Brock, about how to use social media, particularly Twitter to increase her number of followers, and promote an upcoming book. I do not know either of these Cindys, nor have I ever been in contact with either one, but I learned about them through following interesting links on Twitter. Three things I like about the advice from one Cindy to another:

1) As a marketer herself, Cindy King reaffirms proper consideration of online etiquette – or (if I may) tweet-iquette – even for Internet marketers.

2) I like her analogy of the Twitter cocktail party. As Cindy King says, “You would not just barge up to people, grab them by the arm and force them into your group of followers, would you? There’s chit chat first with people you meet for the first time, then you bring up subjects to see if you have things in common”.

3) Finally, I think there’s value in her suggestion of using a Tweet Plan with things like SocialOomph or Hootsuite to more effectively connect and increase followers and those you might wish to follow. Not just for marketers and business prospects, but for all tweeters.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not overly impressed with the barrage of Internet marketers vying for my time online just as much as telemarketers do by phone. (Thankfully, we’re on a no-call telephone list for that – and fortunately Twitter has a no-tweet block function). My point though, is that instead of slamming a tweet product in my face without making some type of social connection or interaction an Internet marketer will not sell me a product.

As a Digital Researcher, I’m particularly interested in knowledge mobilization – especially receiving and sharing information with the use of social media.  Twitter is one, excellent way of doing this, particularly because I enjoy sharing and receiving information and/or knowledge in a faster, more interactive social manner. Yet, I also want to get the most mileage out of my tweets. Mostly it’s thanks to all who are kind enough to retweet what I post, but sometimes I’d also like to share with others on the other side of the globe in a timelier manner. Usually it’s when I’m sound asleep in the middle of the night on this side of the planet, or too busy to tweet on a certain day. The use of the Tweet Plan creates this possibility.

Certainly it’s important to remember having a Tweet Plan to automatically retweet for you mean doesn’t mean ignoring the importance of the social part of social media. It’s like receiving email or voicemail for those times when you’re not available. But it’s not enough. Unless you’re willing to attend those cocktail parties in person and network, you’re never going to be able to get to know others on a more significant level (building interest, trust and reliability) and vice versa.

(The Trust Equation thanks to Jack Ricchiuto at DesigningLife.com)

So, some great advice from one Cindy to another, which is one of the wonderful things that Twitter can interactively do for us all. At the great Twitter cocktail party it’s a pleasure to attend and meet others who are interesting and engaging, and also interested in you. Perhaps you might even meet a Cindy or two.

Portable GRUs (Global Research Universities) in Africa

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)


Professor Simon Marginson, who teaches higher education at the University of Melbourne, recently presented the concept of the global research university (GRU) in a keynote address at the British Council’s Going Global international education conference in London. As quoted from the Times Higher Education blog, Marginson defined a GRU as a “multiversity”, active in all disciplines and fields “plus global systems and ranking … located in national systems of higher education, but also part of a global system at the same time”. Marginson also said: “In many nations, especially in Africa, there are no GRUs. None is in sight.” Although the blog did not address further why this might be so, it begs the question why are there no African GRUs in sight?

Perhaps a solution. According to textually.org, Africa’s digital technology is exploding across the continent as smart phone technology is increasing as much as 500 percent. Given remote access to web-based educational systems – like WebCT, and the unnecessary local physical infrastructure required, isn’t the concept of a portable GRU in the palm of your hand a no-brainer? Doesn’t it make sense as a goal of higher education to truly connect globally within and from impoverished countries already dealing with inequalities to promote greater global education?

Although the use of digital technology is growing in developing countries, Reuters reported that only 28% of all Africans had a cellular subscription at this time last year. Nonetheless, Africa continues to have one of the largest growth rates in voice, mobile Web and mobile commerce channels. One of the problems has been the cost of technology in such impoverished countries. The solution is providing handsets for less than $40 each, already being done for up to 6 million in Africa. African mobile usage has now surpassed fixed usage.

No doubt, Africa and other developing countries will continue to see a rise in the use of digital technology. As more individuals around the world have this type of global access and affordable cellular devices, the greater the possibility of seeing the further expansion of GRUs with portable GRUs – and a more educated global population. A more educated global population makes for greater economic development worldwide, and contributes to greater well-being of all citizens – local and global.

But we must remember to ask – by whose educational standards, whose educational values, whose educational beliefs? Western standards? Eastern standards? Northern standards? Southern standards? Or cooperative Global standards? GRUs, as part of a global system, need to accommodate open debate and higher thinking just as much as any on-campus classes in a physical university need to. Just as Web 2.0 technology has advanced the ability to socially interact and mobilize knowledge as never before, the greater this new web is cast across the globe to include rich and poor nations alike the greater the possibilities for global understanding and cooperation.

Professor Marginson calls for GRUs to be part of a “global system” but says “none is in sight”. Using digital technology to create portable GRUs around the world is the way to do it to put higher education – literally – in the hands of everyone. With the burgeoning of digital technology in Africa and other developing countries, perhaps portable GRUs there and around the world are closer than we think.

Defining the Digital Researcher

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)

The term digital researcher is so new as a career title that a Google search found only vague references to this latest Web 2.0 profession. The term can also be described with the more common term – Internet researcher. Digital researchers can be from any discipline, and use the Internet as a means of gathering information and doing research – specifically pertaining to digital technology and social media.  I first heard the term as discovered by my husband, Dr. David Phipps (one of the innovators behind ResearchImpact) as he was web-surfing. David linked to Vitae – a research website with a Digital Researcher blog and event. I liked the term as it describes the type of research work I’m involved with, but I still coudn’t find any formal definition to describe a Digital Researcher. Up to that point, I was simply calling myself a researcher using the Internet as my main mode of inquiry.  But my enthusiasm for the specific title matched that of David’s.  So, I went searching online to find others like myself doing the same thing – and a definition to go along with it.

First stop, the central Internet encyclopedic source…Wikipedia, but I couldn’t even find a definition there! (Any takers up to the task of starting this new Wikipedia entry???) I did find references to a company called Digital Research, but not much else of help. The closest I came to a similar affiliation is the Association of Internet Researchers in the field of Internet studies, but still not quite a Digital Researcher definition.

The first Google link directed me to a paper written in English by German authors. It’s called The Digital Researcher: Exploring the Use of Social Software in the Research Process, published by Sprouts. According to their website they are “Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems (often referred to as ‘Sprouts’) is indexed Open Access outlet of emergent work and working papers carried out primarily by scholars of the information systems field and members of AIS, the Association for Information Systems.”

I am a great proponent of Open Access publications (as you will note from my call for more open access to journal papers in my previous blog). However, one problem that can occur is the lack of proofreading before submitting. A typo here or there can happen, but this paper – perhaps due to language/translation problems – had several typos. Don’t get me wrong; I found the paper very insightful about the research process along with great information about digital media, such as delicious, citeulike, connotea, scienceblog, scientificblogging, technorati, twitter and wikicfp. But Open Access does not mean oversights and sloppy writing.

Unfortunately, the paper is also rather elitist by focusing only on what might be considered “professional” scientists while ignoring community-based researchers entirely. It falls short of defining what a Digital Researcher is by claiming that Digital Researchers are only part of the scientific community, i.e. academia. It ignores anyone contributing to knowledge mobilization (not part of the formal scientific community) doing research using the expanse of social media tools inherent in the work of a Digital Researcher.

My work as a Digital Researcher is inclusive of all types of  knowledge mobilization – within science disciplines as well as within communities across the Internet (whether global, local, or global-local). Perhaps a formal definition of a Digital Researcher is required. Could I possibly be the first person to attempt to define Digital Researcher for the Web 2.0 generation? Here goes…

Definition of Digital Researcher: A person, who systematically investigates, collects and analyzes knowledge within social media, using digital technology that generates, stores, and processes data. The digital researcher then uses social media and digital technology to mobilize the knowledge acquired by the research.

At least it’s a start to defining the field. I thought you could find just about everything on Google? Guess I was wrong. (Oh, and feel free to quote me on this when you include it in Wikipedia!).

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) "In for the long haul"

 

I just finished reading and tweeting about In for the Long Haul: Knowledge Translation Between Academic and Nonprofit Organizations. (I was only able to access the full document through York University’s journal licence).  Although the paper specifically focuses on researchers and non-profit organizations (NPOs), the authors rightly point out three essential factors that influence any effective knowledge mobilization: strong interorganizational partnerships, using skilled knowledge brokers (like those found at York University’s KMb Unit and ResearchImpact – Canada’s Knowledge Mobilization Network) and meaningful involvement of “front-line personnel” – those involved in direct contact between researchers and community organizations.

The paper uses KT (Knowledge Translation) to describe what is also known as KMb (Knowledge Mobilization), and states that KT is “a two-way process” by “equal and engaged partners”. This may be a simple way of describing the ideal reciprocal nature of knowledge exchange between what has been referred to as the two-communities view (social scientists and policy makers living in two different worlds), which – by extension – includes researchers in academia and community-based organizations.

I suggest that Knowledge Mobilization goes further to describe a more multi-directional aspect of knowledge utilization, transfer and exchange. Knowledge can be translated and/or exchanged in several multi-directional and engaging ways:

  • mobilized from researcher to researcher within the academy
  • mobilized from researcher to practitioner or vice versa
  • mobilized from one NPO working with another
  • mobilized from NPO(s) to practitioners to researchers
  • mobilized from NPO(s) to researchers
  • mobilized from researcher(s) to researcher(s) via a community-based tool such as blogging or Twitter
  • mobilized from a tweeter/blogger that informs the research in academia
  • mobilized from word-of-mouth story-telling to NOP(s) to researcher to researcher – as only a few examples.

All of these multi-directional modes of KMb inform and can also involve policy makers and knowledge brokers.

Knowledge Mobilization is a more precise and encompassing term that speaks to more current social relationships and tools used in a world of knowledge that continues to evolve with and from web 2.0 technology. Using social media tools to inform and enhance knowledge mobilizaiton helps create a channel of equal and engaged communication- not only in academia and the realm of policy makers, but also within the world of social media and networks – but only if it is accessible to all.

The paper states that it offers some KT lessons learned from close partnerships with vulnerable populations like sex-trade workers and street-youth. It should be noted that the dedicated work and time-consuming efforts of over a decade of research and community involvement are a testament to excellent KMb efforts by the authors and community contributors to the article.

Yet, there are three points I’d like to conclude with and leave you with for any comments:

1) Why are two papers I have linked to in this blog only accessible through academic channels and not at a community level? (Did you try the title link and the two-communities link above to get the articles?)

2) Why are we still using a variety of terms (Knowlege Transfer, Knowledge Exchange, Knowledge Transfer and Exchange, Knowledge Utilization, etc.) to describe all of what Knowledge Mobilization does?

3) Why did the authors of In for the Long Haul not make reference to the knowledge broker and KMb Unit at the University of Victoria as part of this paper? (Two of the authors are affiliated with UVic, and one was involved in early discussions about the start up of the KMb Unit at UVic. The UVic knowledge broker learned of the paper through Twitter).

The paper talks about the “Snail’s Pace of KT” and urges readers to “Pick up the KT pace”.  Perhaps it’s time they followed their own advice. Perhaps it’s time those researchers picked up the KMb pace.