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December 01, 2006

Social Bookmarking at the Enterprise Level

I used to think that being a CIO was my dream job but that’s changed over the last 2-3 years, in part because I was working in a large enterprise and experienced the slow, grinding gears of corporate IT departments. More importantly, however, I was spending time blogging and getting on the what-would-become the Web2.0 bandwagon (but I was into it then and into now because I think new technology is cool and will change the future, not because I think there's money to be made from it).

So it’s weird to know hear recent posts about Web2.0 entering the enterprise world, for good or for worse. I think MIT fired one of the first mainstream salvos on this topic with their article, Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration. While listening to the Gillmor Gang and Dan Farber and Doc Searls (both great and fascinating journalists and bloggers) commenting on the recent Novell/MS deal, I had to say, “God, the enterprise space is boring.”

My team at work recently completed a Knowledge Management research report so I enjoyed a recent Scoble Show video about how social bookmarking could become the new knowledge management and content management platform for the enterprise space (he interviews the CEO of ConnectBeam.com)

Can Web2.0 be used in the enterprise? Despite my feelings that corporate IT departments tend to be slow and risk-adverse, there are always a feel individuals who do get it and are willing to experiment. Calacanis (CalacanisCast #4 maybe) said as much when commenting on the JotSpot/Google deal and explaining that JotSpot is better than SocialText for enterprise blog needs (paraphrase):

How will it (Web2.0) infiltrate the enterprise space? It will be by rouge characters who install wiki-powered software outside of IT protocols and it will catch on so much b/c of the productivity advantages, forcing the IT department to accept these web2.0 apps

And I keep an open mind for another important reason: I believe in the social or peer production mindset of Web2.0.

Here are the two takeaways from the video:

1) Why will social bookmarking will be the future tool for KM and Content Management at the enterprise level?

If you look at Web2.0 tools to use for knowledge management, instead of wikis, blogs, social networking, we think it's social bookmarking for two reasons:

a) Social bookmarking is the simplest to use; and people now how to bookmark, the idea is so familiar to users already
b) Social bookmarking is at the higher level because blogs, wikis are essentially web pages that can be bookmarked; most tools now are via a web browser so they can be bookmarked

2) And why is ConnectBeam better than del.icio.us?

a) Enterprises behave and use knowledge differently than consumers; consumers have personal desires to do social bookmarking because it helps themselves and in enterprises, you need extra incentives beyond those of the consumer space

b) Enterprises need boundaries, guardrails around the knowledge artifacts, who can share what, etc.; del.icio.us can't quite do this in it's present form

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