A Generational War (Guest Post on Enterprise 2.0 Blog)

I just posted a piece titled Social Media vs. Knowledge Management: A Generational War as my first guest post on the Enterprise 2.0 blog. Go check it out. Post your comments here if you like, since the E2.0 folks don’t have open comments. Here’s an excerpt:

You’d think Knowledge Management (KM), that venerable IT-based social engineering discipline which came up with evocative phrases like “community of practice,” “expertise locater,” and “knowledge capture,” would be in the vanguard of the 2.0 revolution. You’d be wrong. Inside organizations and at industry fora today, every other conversation around social media (SM) and Enterprise 2.0 seems to turn into a thinly-veiled skirmish within an industry-wide KM-SM shadow war. I suppose I must be a little dense, because it took not one, not two, but three separate incidents before I realized there was a war on. Here’s what’s going on: KM and SM look very similar on the surface, but are actually radically different at multiple levels, both cultural and technical, and are locked in an undeclared cultural war for the soul of Enterprise 2.0. And the most hilarious part is that most of the combatants don’t even realize they are in a war. They think they are loosely-aligned and working towards the same ends, with some minor differences of emphasis. So let me tell you about this war and how it is shaping up. Hint: I have credible neutral “war correspondent” status because I was born in 1974.

Check out the rest of the piece. I admit I am being deliberately provocative in this piece to a certain extent. Given how long my pieces tend to be, I need some spice to engage a new set of readers!

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. “The idea that Web 2.0 distracts from SemWeb isn’t a technical opinion: it is the Boomers expressing disappointment in their children for not caring about World Peace.”

    I believe the appropriate Millenial response is – LOL!

  2. Update: my original post generated quite a storm of responses, so I’ve posted a follow-up guest post on Enterprise 2.0, SM vs. KM, the reactions.

    Check it out, and chime in…