BBC space – social networking space

December 24, 2006

The BBC’s low-tech KM
By David Weinberger

Major organisations like the BBC have implemented social networking to connect together like minded people in their organisation and to facilitate collaboration.

When the BBC gave Semple the job, they expected him to spec out a big, expensive IT-based KM system. “But,” he says, “my view is that we’re a network-based, conversational type of business. I realized the best way to go was beneath the radar.”

The first tool that he installed was a bulletin board called “Talk.Gateway.
But the board wouldn’t have taken off if it were restricted to the dry discussions of pure business.
The board has entered the daily life of BBC employees because it’s fun and interesting as well as useful. That’s a good thing to remember when your own company is worrying that its e-mail or bulletin board or blogs may sometimes go “off topic.” Good! Then maybe someone will read them.The board also generates knowledge.

Semple’s next project was a “people finder” called Connect that lets people state their skills, background and interests.
But Connect isn’t just an expert finder; it also enables people to form interest groups.

Then about two years ago, Semple put in a blogging server.
About 70 blogs with 150 people writing for them,” he says. Some are individual, some are linked into communities and a couple of engineering groups are using them for passing information between shifts.

Semple is also getting the BBC used to wikis. About 500 people are using them, with controlled access, to do things such as write procedural documentation.

As he’s learned, it doesn’t require a lot of tech or a huge budget. Mainly it requires letting people find one another and talk.


One comment

  1. Is it a way of community organisation?
    Communication flows
    Networking for social capital
    Community formation tools
    Collaborative networking tools for knowledge-building

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