Knowledge Management

Content concerning knowledge management systems, concepts, and structures.

Social Networking Systems: History, Critique, and Knowledge Management Potentials

A multiplicity of social networking services (SNS) have been introduced within the last several years. SNS Web sites such as Friendster have rapidly gained subscribers who seek to augment their personal social network, to seek new relationships, or to access various, peer-created or collected information. These recent SNS Web sites differ from their less formal predecessors, such as UseNet newsgroups, in that they make direct relational links and allow representations beyond purely text. Social networking is innate to the human cultural experience, but the concept is not new to electronic networks – bulletin boards and other forums have served the same purpose. These applications are popular because they focus on personal relationships and orient on specific social or informational goals. SNS sites attract participants with interests ranging from making business contacts to dating and leisure activities. Likewise, SNS sites facilitate narrowly focused information exchange including recommendations, news, editorial and personal narrative, and so on. Each of the current SNS applications appeals to a basic human desire for connection and inclusiveness within a social group or activity.

By modeling real social networks in a virtual environment, SNS adds value to the existing networks by multiplying the potential for connection and by centralizing communications between its members. Unfortunately, the increasing choice of SNS sites, lack of data portability between applications, simplistic relationship models, and inability to control facets of personal data threatens to prevent the technology from maturing. Additionally, market failure for SNS technologies would detract from the potential these applications have for improving personal and organizational knowledge management applications.