Social Media vs. Knowledge Management: Understanding The Differences and Similarities

Robin Singh 21 February, 2017
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It’s true that the underlying concepts of social media and knowledge management are quite similar, but in many things, both these differ from one another. There’s no denying that these platforms are making our lives much easy, allowing us to share information and connect with other people no matter the time zones and geographical location.

We can access them on the go and look for the things we are interested in, but when it comes to the purpose of these platforms, the value and structure of the content found on each of these platforms do not follow a similar approach. Keeping this in mind, let’s go through the differences and similarities of social media and knowledge management.

Similarities

As we have already mentioned, both these concepts are used to provide information to the users. Organizations now even have access to knowledge management software that can be easily integrated with their official websites, making it easy for anyone to access the information they willingly share. Also, both these platforms boost collaboration among the users, help them identify relevant information and share if needed.

Differences

Content authoring on these platforms follows completely different approach. The corporate wikis and knowledge base may contain in-depth user guides for services and products, procedural knowledge best practices, frequently asked questions and other various company- and customer-related documentation.

Usually, there is a team of people in charge of the content that is to be imported by knowledge base software and they have clear instructions on which information can pass and which will be discarded. In other words, there is a policy in place that ensures that nothing an organization doesn’t want to disclose is displayed in the knowledge base.

In the world of social media, the peers are the ones who decide what is important and they freely share it with other people. There is no censorship unless the published content is in violation of the rules of the platform in question.

With this in mind, one can say that free distribution of knowledge on social media is better in terms of relevancy and accessibility (keep in mind, that in most cases some information in a corporate knowledge base is only accessible by specific user groups). But is this really the case?

Timeline and the Ability to Search

When it comes to time efficiency and the learning curve, knowledge management systems that come in the form of software solutions (such as wiki software) provide a conducive environment to the employees to grow. A knowledge base software allows the users to quickly find the information they need.

In a social media channel, mostly information sharing occurs via posts and links. In order to access the information, employees would have to scroll back to who knows when with no guarantees, they will find the information at all. Even if there is a private group for business purposes only, there are chances of missing out on the information.

Which One is a Better Option?

Big data and machine learning are two major trends that will shape our future. It is believed that customer relationship management, customer support, organization’s knowledge and corporate culture can be perfected and brought to an entirely new level by ensuring the use of both social media and knowledge management tool.

Knowledge base software is widely used, powering help desks of businesses globally.

Nowadays, marketing departments have access to varied social media analytics tools, and the customer support department is always finding newer ways to solve the customer problems, the same as the sales department.

The idea is to integrate all the data from different departments and customer base to ensure effective use. It is important to understand that we are not talking about forms being filled just to became a number in a big chunk of data, we are talking about assuming the role of a social organization that is capable of unlocking the value of both knowledge management system and social media.

A social organization should aim to mobilize the stakeholders, products and services, and even inspire them to willingly share their wisdom and knowledge. The crucial part is to do this without regard to position or hierarchy of an organization. With the access to all of this information, an organization will not only bag competitive advantage but also ensure future innovation and increased agility.

Conclusion

Seeing from the eyes of businesses, knowledge management systems are higher valued as compared to social media, at least when it comes to sharing corporate knowledge and caring about customers. But experts are hopeful that the future is expected to witness the deeper integration of these two.

Author: Robin Singh
Robin is a Technical Support Executive with a combined experience of 6 years. He is well acquainted with various Knowledge base tools and is currently associated with ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.
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