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Andrew McAfee recently wrote a post called How to Hit the Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye that looks at how multiple tools like wikis, blogs, and social networks are useful to workers in complementary ways. He defines a bullseye and set of concentric cirles that represent the typical worker’s ties to others as strong, weak, potential, and none, then shows how each tool is most useful at a particular ring in the bullseye. For example:

“Evidence suggests that wikis let strongly-tied collaborators get their work done better, faster, and with more agility than was previous possible. With a wiki, what’s emergent is the document itself, with ‘document’ defined broadly.”

For weak connections, he explains that the benefit of maintaining a social network is keeping updated on connections and being able to see when the potential for a stronger connection emerges. He gives the exmple of a Facebok status update that let him know a contact was accompanying a foreign head of state to a meeting on technology issues.

“…as a result of his Facebook update, which took him about ten seconds to type and me one second to read, I now know who to reach out to should I ever want to dive into European IT issues, or desire an invitation to the Elysee Palace wink. SNS lets its users build bridges to new human networks, and to let non-redundant information emerge.”

For the potential connections — the outer ring in the concentric circle — he suggests blogs:

“And what about all the people in the third ring of the circle in the figure — the potentially valuable colleagues who our knowledge worker just hasn’t met yet? Wikis and SNS in their current configurations don’t help her learn of the existence of such people, but an internal corporate blogosphere could.”

If a critical mass of blogging is cultivated in an organization, it creates an information flow for people to tap into by setting up searches for topics of interest, then monitoring RSS feeds of blogs they find useful.
There are multiple ways to use wikis, blogs, and social networks to be better informed, share your knowledge and expertise, and find others who share your interests. Regardless of how you use them — and it’s to your benefit to investigate them and find the uses that suit you — Andrew has offered an excellent rationale for their value.

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