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Social knowledge management is the process of adequately assimilating and supervising the social knowledge that is accumulated through dialogue and relationship building as it occurs among people. This particular type of knowledge management often focuses on the organization and proper use of information that is provided by people in online environments, such as user-created resources on different subjects or even general repositories of data covering a wide range of topics, such as a user-created online encyclopedia. The idea behind social knowledge management is to establish guidelines and standards that help to qualify the data that is received and deploy that information in the most responsible manner possible.
Since social knowledge management involves the responsible management of information shared from a number of different sources, the process can sometimes be complicated. Typically, specific policies and procedures are put in place that help to qualify the data shared while still allowing room for a diversity of ideas to be presented. To this end, being open to a wide range of sources is often part of the process of collecting social knowledge, while the management process on the back end seeks to organize and qualify the data that is shared from a multiplicity of sources.
When creating a web site that is aimed at sharing information collected from a variety of sources, it is not unusual for managers to require some sort of backup documentation that supports the data. Doing so helps to minimize the potential for incorrect or incomplete data to be included. Often, setting standards for submission will help to reduce redundancy in the site while also promoting the ability to cross-reference related subject matter in a logical fashion. This in turn helps the site to build a reputation of being reliable and trustworthy.
Social knowledge management is not limited to the creation of online resources that encompass contributions from a number of sources. The same general idea can also be applied to the sharing of information between companies related to a specific industry, or even the sharing of relevant data between two related industries. While social knowledge management among companies will usually focus on sharing data that is not considered proprietary, promoting this type of responsible sharing can provide benefits for all the companies concerned, sometimes in terms of increasing productivity, expanding company visions and goals and possibly even building closer relationships with each other that allow for engaging in joint projects that ultimately reap a great deal of financial reward.