My Favourite Tipples are shared by Shimrit Janes, freelance researcher, writer and consultant specialising in the use of social media tools for knowledge sharing. She shares her favourite resources and network of thought-leaders and practitioners.
Since going freelance, I've become aware of the potential gap between a practitioner who is working "in-house" within a company day-to-day, and a consultant and researcher who moves between different projects, normally on the periphery of an organisation's culture. Whilst this has its drawbacks, it also has its advantages.
It can be easier to adopt a bird's eye view and notice trends across organisations. Keeping up-to-date with the latest thinking is a constant challenge, as developments in technology move so quickly, particularly within the area of what's often termed "social business". Yet, it's an exciting space to be tracking and working in.
Here are the tools and resources I'm currently using to help feed my knowledge. You may as well live what you preach, right?
Twitter: My former boss cajoled me onto Twitter at the start of the social knowledge management project I was working on with RPC, saying we need to become familiar with the tools we're espousing. It's taken time to build up a timeline of users' tweets that reflects my needs (together with some trial and error), but it's now become a key resource for finding articles and thinking that explore current trends and also open up my thinking.
My timeline is a fantastic mix of technology developments, business thinking, journalism theory and analysis, insights for charities, goings on in London and other users sharing tidbits to feed your curiosity. I also make sure I categorise those I'm following into public lists, mainly for my own benefit but also as a starting point for others.
GetPocket (with IFTTT): One of the difficulties with reading online is remembering where you've read a particular article if you want to refer to it again later in the future. I use GetPocket to curate collections of articles and online content I've come across that I want to be able to refer back to.
The platform's tagging system lets you organise articles with your own folksonomy (or taxonomy, if you're very organised), and its user interface makes it very easy to browse, find and read articles.
I combine GetPocket with a recipe I created using "If This Then That" (IFTTT), which means that any articles I share over Twitter or LinkedIn automatically get sent to my GetPocket account. This saves me having to go through the process of scrolling through my updates on various social networks trying to remember when I shared a particular article.
LinkedIn Groups: I was a little dubious of LinkedIn Groups when I first started using them, finding that many that I had joined were either barren wastelands of no discussion, or venues for self-promotion. However, there are a number that I've found to be active in discussions and the sharing of resources.
If you can find a group where the members are truly engaged and passionate about their topic, they can become another useful source of information. In particular, I've found that a group called "Internal Communications" and another called "Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations" provide a good stream of thought-provoking discussion and resources.
Brain Pickings: "Combinatorial creativity" - I came across that phrase through one of my favourite blogs, Brain Pickings.
The blog's editor/founder/writer, Maria Popova, spends hours researching and pulling together fascinating posts on a whole host of topics, aimed at stimulating curiosity and thinking. It's had a dangerous impact on my groaning bookcase as she often reviews and recommends books, but there's always something worth reading.
The blog serves as a constant reminder to expand our horizons, and that new ideas most often come from combining disparate older ideas.
An article in FreePint which I found particularly interesting:
This is going to seem a little self-serving, but one of my favourite FreePint articles is actually one written as part of the FreePint Topic Series: The Social Enterprise which I co-produced. This was "Capco's Bespoke Collaboration Platform for Knowledge Sharing" by Rebecca O'Reilly. I worked with Rebecca as she framed the case study of what they'd achieved, and it serves as a great story of how the culture of that organisation nurtured a bespoke and innovative collaboration platform.
We also carried out a FreePint Webinar together, facilitated by Robin Neidorf, and the process helped show how reflecting on your successes and challenges - trying to work out what your story actually is - has value in and of itself. (Register for free to view our recorded Webinars.)
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