Becoming a Blogger: A Social Knowledge Experiment

Becoming a Blogger: A Social Knowledge Experiment

Stefania Mariano
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-203-1.ch010
(Individual Chapters)
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“The outcomes of the blog open a gateway for new venues in my personal knowledge” [Participant 2]
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Web logs (or Blogs) are tools to foster collaboration and interactions among users. The first blog appeared on the Internet in 1997 (Lyons, 2005) even though online personal diaries have emerged on the World Wide Web since 1994 (Sullivan, 2005). Along with MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Wikipedia, Web logs are considered as the backbone of Web 2.0, a term coined to embody the new Internet advancement where knowledge is socially constructed and distributed. The social construction of knowledge is recognized as a source of competitive advantage by many organizations (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Dixon, 2000). These organizations have started using social media, e.g. wikis for collaboration, and social networking tools for connecting people, to develop flexible and intuitive solutions and facilitate participation and communication. The use of social media has contributed to shift the need-to-know organizational paradigm to the need-to-share organizational paradigm (Girard, 2010) increasing the importance of a collaborative working environment where individuals feel free to disseminate what they know for the benefit of the organization. Despite this increased interest in the use of social media, however not all organizations have achieved the desired level of knowledge sharing nor have they identified an effective way to manage social knowledge.

The purpose of this study is to provide empirical support for the management of social media. This study explores how a community of people creates, transfers, and shares knowledge in social media, i.e. a Web log which is defined as a site about a person or company that is usually updated daily (Robbins & Judge, 2010). The goal is to develop a conceptual framework on the management of knowledge in social media. Another purpose is to provide evidences about factors influencing the process of knowledge creation, transfer, and sharing in Web logs, and recommendations for the design and implementation of Web logs in organizations. In this study social knowledge is defined as the use of social media to create, transfer, and preserve organizational knowledge with a view to achieving the organizational vision (Girard, 2010). In the following sections, the theoretical basis regarding knowledge management, social media, and social knowledge is presented. Follows a comprehensive description of the qualitative methodology used to collect and analyze data. Findings are shown by means of quotations from interview transcriptions derived from the use of the qualitative software package Atlas.ti®. Theoretical and managerial implications regarding the results of this study are presented and future research is discussed.

Research Questions

The research questions follow from the purpose of the study. They were designed to provide enough direction without being too restrictive. They are as follows:

  • 1.

    RQ: How are social media used to manage knowledge?

  • 2.

    RQa: What are the main impediments to the management of knowledge in social media?

  • 3.

    RQb: What are the recommendations to the management of knowledge in social media?

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