Bi-directional SSE feeds take notifcation (RSS) to the next level adding annotation & synchronization functionality.
This weeks announcement by Microsoft of an enhanced XML standard improves the functionality and versatility of RSS. I found this to be too technical for easy comprehension, but this web2.0 community blog has a great description and visual aids.
SSE permits users A and B to share data in duplex or bidirectional mode. SSE allows subscribers access to data based on a date/time stamp.
SSE incorporates the ability to subscribe to feed data items - adds synchronization.
Receive the feed, modify (annotate, add, rip, mix) and return
Create document revisions in realtime at the sametime with your collaborators
Share calendars, notes, playlists and organizers
Write to subscriptions where RSS is read only
Allows dispersed devices/systems to use this format not only to syndicate, but to replicate
This is an open standard permitting remix, tweaking, and building upon this specification for commercial reasons - a whole new business?
Shared meaning is an important goal for any company trying to survive in the slower knowledge economy. With shared meaning, comes easier communication, greater alignment, more profitable identification of gaps, market shifts and competitor strategies, easier cross community sharing
and improved awareness.
A key 'affordance' for supporting shared meaning and increasing understanding is annotation, the ability to respond to written text, critique, amend and anneal. Facile annotation speeds idea cycles, introduces diversity of thoughts, supports & improves knowledge claim validation, creates conditions for synergy and helps with the emergence of new connections and knowledge.
Annotation may be a digital 'Post it Note', a note in the margin, a comment on an instant message log by a 3rd party, a formal critique, comments on a memo, adding new content or correcting someone's spelling errors. What we need is the ability to attach annotations to a wide variety of objects (power point presentations, styled Word documents, discussion posts, chat room logs, podcasts). Such annotations should be with or without date & time stamps, explicit author or pointers to the source. We should make provision for annotations to annotations as well.
Annotations serve to capture key learnings and to allow the emergence of improved context and meaning. Although the ability to have flexible annotation services is key, it is not the entire story by any means. There must be a culture that supports open communication, a recognition of the
value of strong feedback, an acceptance of the key role of validation and critique, before any company will extract value from their annotation services and functionality.
Article on annotation in virtual communities from Educational Technology & Society:
The irony is bloggers and podcasters do not support easy and intuitive feedback and are mainly a one-to-many broadcast medium or publishing genre.
I expect annotation to be a key KM functionality soon. So what role does
annotation really play in your organization and the way you work with
A reflection around the use and (severe lack of) ubiquity of annotation, interactivity and feedback mechanisms in knowledge management applications. I see far too much publishing, push and static text with little affordance for interaction, yet it is in the interaction, the supplied context, rationale, alternate solution, different view, critique, embellishment, reminder or suggestion that knowledge emerges, is created and sustained. The 'knowledge' (really information) in the static document
is congealed, intractable and dormant.
So I'm looking at annotation / feedback as a whole, either my notes or your critique of my notes, at the granularity of attachment, at the need and implementation of bi-directional links, privacy gradients and the practices around annotation that add or destroy value.
This is not a discovery of annotation as something new, it not a revelation of the power of hypertext, linking or attaching objects, it isa muse that we do not see much of this affordance, that certain forms e.g. guestbooks may not be ideal (too serial and detached from the context?), that much valued comment is never attached back, e.g. e-mail and thus lives in a totally separate world, that privacy gradients and the ability to hide or reveal annotations in context is key.
Annotations edge us closer to situatedness & context both of which, I believe, are under appreciated in current knowledge management system design.
Why I believe knowledge is constructed, emergent, ephemeral and tied to a community
Surowiecki’s “The wisdom of crowds” tells anecdotes and stories that
illustrate some of the advantages of collective decision making, but my
epiphany runs deeper that decisions and problem solving, to the very
nature of knowledge itself. The route to working with knowledge lies
through people, building relationships & trust, deep dialog and
creative abrasion. There needs to be diversity of ideas and an
environment where failures and reflection are valued as learning
"Knowledge is embodied in people gathered in communities and
networks. The road to knowledge is via people, conversations,
connections and relationships. Knowledge surfaces through dialog, all
knowledge is socially mediated and access to knowledge is by connecting
to people that know or know who to contact."
The importance of cohorts
You may obtain information from the 'sage on the stage' a book or CBT, but you learn
on the playing field, where your identity is forged, opinions are
validated, values mediated, beliefs formed and assumptions are tested.
Social mediation is key, and this is where cohorts help you make
meaning and gain understanding. We own a social brain and apprenticeship is the natural way to learn.
We need cohorts and community to build a shared repertoire of key
concepts, evolve tools, craft language, gather stories and highlight
sensitivities. This is where learning products reside.
Shared meaning is the difference between personal knowing and
acquired understanding or social knowledge. This is the power behind
language and communication. Points to the essential role of sharing
critique, alignment & reflection in learning. Meaning is established through patterning, emotions play a key role. To make meaning explicit and ensure alignment, it is essential to question and test assumptions.
Creating new knowledge comes from bringing forth new worlds,
from agreeing and naming subtle signs, symptoms, patterns and
perceptions that enable alternative courses of action. Mostly this
happens as a natural byproduct of conversations within groups and is
recognized by the issues, the values, the beliefs and in the language
of a community of practice. Often encoded in the 'slang' and
group talk that sets the community apart. Distinctions are closely
related to ontologies and to making meaning. They contribute a large
measure to identity.
Deep learning, identity and dialog
Knowing is an act of participation, knowledge is
more a living process than acquisition of an object, it is closely tied
to who we are and emerges in dialog or through copy and practice.
Lasting knowledge is knowing more than definitions, concepts and
relationships, it is feeling what is right in a particular situation, requires personal engagement, passion and a community to emerge. Learning and knowledge require an ecology to thrive and evolve.
New insights arise at the boundaries between communities,
connections and reflections, are key to synthesis and access to new
ideas. The learning potential of an organization lies in maintaining a
tension and a balance between core practices and active boundary
processes. Identity and meaningfulness are the wellspring of
creativity, sharing is a natural by-product of belonging. Learning and understanding is more about community than content
Creative abrasion, high challenge and safety
Dorothy Leonard struck a chord talking of creative abrasion.
To change your mindset you need to raise the energy levels, increase
the attention and focus. This is difficult to achieve in a placid
conversation. Exposure to alternative assumptions and frames, some
advocacy, deep dialog, strong engagement and a pure clash of ideas help to unsettle, and resettle meaning. Prior beliefs are difficult to change using reading, classroom instruction and teaching as telling. Taken too far, increasing stress levels will reduce the learning opportunity, there is a fine balance to be maintained.
Boundary hopping and busting prototypes
The sweet spot for learning is at the boundaries of individual and
community. Here you are less sure and secure , core rigidities are
lower, you are flooded with new thought forms, alternative analogies and metaphors. Making connections is key and often follows trusted relationships.
In the knowledge economy, connections and relationships count more
than personal know-how and access to content. The environment changes
so fast, the optimum knowledge strategy is instant access to people
& their ideas and continuous awareness & learning in a
supportive community. People and discourse communities provide the
'filter' mechanism for alerting and awareness. This helps to keep your
focus, provides market intelligence and affords a platform for
negotiating meaning and value. A key heuristic is to: annotate complex
documents with contact people who can coach, situate and explain. This
is a higher quality connection than hyper-linking to yet more content.
Personal identity and context are key in all forms of
knowledge work. They determine your propensity to share, inquire,
probe, prototype, experiment and question. Identity regulates your
engagement in deep dialog and controls your ability to engage in
Community is a prerequisite for continuous learning. This
does not have to be a CoP, a discourse community is just as valuable as
it delivers awareness, helps to sensitize, alter mental models &
Knowledge needs negotiation imposed (mediated) social values and reflection, separate knowledge from personal knowing and individual competence (skills)
Knowledge is situated some knowledge is present in social
ritual, inventions and artifacts. Reification changes the nature of
objects turning them into knowledge artifacts (social objects)
Knowledge needs representation, inference,
critique and reflection are improved when there is something tangible
to work from. This is not the essential aspect of knowledge, but
representation & reification are key for building longer term
memory, promoting learning and are needed to scale knowledge work. We
need to be mindful of what is lost when we represent and need to heed
that any representation is a powerful filter.
Reciprocity & engagement is the price system for knowledge within a firm, the route to shared meaning and real knowing