In Value from Social Media, I talked about the issue of finding information via Google / Search vs. seeking conversation:
In a recent presentation, I showed an example problem (selecting an authoring tool), went through searching, and then asked whether you felt comfortable with the following questions:
Let’s consider a simple scenario - I’m trying to decide if a particular solution makes sense for my company / organization. I do some searching on Google and find some overviews of the solution and some other good information. But, what it’s still not quite enough to make me feel comfortable with my recommendations. I would like more in the areas of:
All of these kinds of questions are hard to answer with Google.
- Experience - What have been the experiences of other organizations (not the canned case studies) when they’ve used this solution.
- Boundaries / Existence - I’ve got a particular issue and I’m not sure if answers to that issue exist out there, I’ve not found it in my searching.
- Confirmation - I’m beginning to have an answer, but I’d like to get confirmation of the answer based on my particular situation based on experience.
- Importance - Some of the issues I see, I’m not sure how important they are in practice, should I be concerned.
- What’s really going to happen?
- Did I miss something important?
- How important are the various issues?
- Is my answer reasonable?
I am currently trying to find a SME experienced with Moodle (a CMS/LMS) and WizIQ (synchronous web class technology).Great example of a query. So much so, that I responded with Searching for Expertise - LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn for Finding Expertise. Later this same person who had established this goal told us:
Well, I just went over to check my email, and learned that someone replied within the past 15 minutes, and gave me the most complete answer I've found thus far. Interestingly, I found the Moodle-specific ning through someone mentioning it in a response to my posting of the same question to one of the LinkedIn groups which I belong to.This is a great example of what you can find by reaching out to seek conversation. And conversation can be virtual or by scheduling a call. Or ...
Essentially, a Moodle expert that I found using LinkedIn directed me to a different forum in which to ask my question, and a different Moodle expert answered my question, 20 hours after I asked it. And I just learned about ning for the first time yesterday!
I am really excited to be learning how to connect and do research this way. It's certainly way more fun than a boring old Google search. And I can use the Advanced Search function to find experts to answer other questions I have about Moodle.
In Know Where You Can Find Anything, I showed some problems were being specifically designed to be hard to find via search. Realistically, solving them using conversation would be too much. In these cases, a new kind of conversation, distributed work is required. Parcel it out to experts in different areas. Social networks can be a good way to do this. Find groups who are interested in the separate questions and have them run with it.
As a side note, the Work Literacy browse search feature worked great for me today. When I went to a page that combined Google Search Network, there were a bunch of posts that were pretty interesting. It's a bit ugly, but still quite useful.