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By Renwick Congdon

RISMEDIA, Nov. 19, 2007-As we discussed last month, sharing information within a group or company is often referred to as “tribal knowledge.” By de-centralizing the workplace, tribal knowledge-and with it, one of the most effective methods for continuing education-is lost.

To reverse this loss, businesses across industries are implementing knowledge-sharing strategies, also known as Web 2.0 or social computing.

A large part of the Web 2.0 landscape is made up of blogs, wikis and programs that integrate both mediums, along with other technologies.

Blogs are essentially personal journals or commentaries created by individuals, perhaps within teams or organizations, for broad consumption and published on the Internet. Communities on the Web use blogging sites to air their opinions or add to an existing body of material on a given subject area.

The purpose of blogs may vary from site to site; for example, some bloggers use the medium as a diary, while others provide supporting or antithetical views on a topic. The postings-the term used for the publishing of a blog entry-are usually self-moderated.

A wiki is a Web site that enables users to add new content or amend existing content. As soon as you post on a wiki, all users are able to contribute, by adding or amending the original document. They do not have to ask permission-from the author or an administrator-because everyone is empowered to contribute. The wiki community manages change and ensures accuracy and relevance. A great example is Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org).

The shared-document collaboration element is the main difference between blogs and wikis. The originating author relinquishes ownership of the content on a wiki publication. Initially, researchers and developers used wikis for rapid development of ideas, but this has extended to project managers and others in more traditional business disciplines, according to the Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft developed Sharepoint Services to integrate blogs, wikis and Microsoft documents (Word, Excel, etc.) into a corporate knowledge-sharing system. Windows SharePoint Services enable users to locate distributed information quickly and efficiently, as well as connect to and work with others more productively.

These are just a few of the options that are available to enable a knowledge-sharing strategy. As with any new technology or business system, there are a number of options available to meet your needs. Therefore, it is best to work with a pilot program first. Start small, learn what works for your company, talk to others, and grow from there. RE

Renwick Congdon is the president and CEO of Imprev. For more information, visit www.imprev.com.

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