DevLearn Report: Social Media (#DL09-P5)


Pre-Conference Workshop P5: Making Social Media Work with e-Learning

Mark Oehlert, Defense Acquisition University

Quotes to Remember:

“Start small, think big, move fast.”

“Let’s move from subject-matter experts to subject-matter networks.”

“Teach capabilities, not content.”

The New Knowledge Management

  • Companies with strong Knowledge Management departments adopt social media earlier and build stronger systems.
  • Educate your users about tagging, categorization, organization, etc. Figure out how the tools can work within the organization and train it.
  • Must have Knowledge Management strategy in place for these tools to work. What’s the goal? What will we do with the information generated? If it’s poorly presented, poorly tagged, poorly organized, what’s the value?
  • Don’t choke it by over-regulating. Too many restrictions will keep people from using it openly and sharing. Let it flow and moderate, rather than dictate and restrict.
  • Balance must be found here, because too open leads to a mess of information, too closed leads to a lack of information.

The Big Point

Enterprise is concerned about control. What controls do they have in place now for email, jump drives, copiers, laptops, etc.? Nothing is different with social media. Your communication policy already covers it. Don’t do anything bad, don’t release company information. Don’t be stupid. It’s the same as email, phone and other forms of communication.

Another angle: think people aren’t goofing off now? Think again. Think they aren’t going to Twitter because it’s blocked? Wrong. Seesmic, Hoot Suite, Brizzly, the iPhone, Blackberry client, portal widgets, browser plugins. If someone wants to use it, they will find a way.


NSA is using A-Space built on Jive. Information was released that shouldn’t have been. Because people were active in the system, it was viewed, collected and fixed in 90 seconds. Had it been in an e-mail, the result would have been much different.

The Big Point #2

Enterprise is concerned about what might happen if they allow this. The better question is, “what happens if we don’t use this?” What do we miss out on?

  • collaboration
  • knowledge sharing
  • new business generation
  • new recruits
  • much more…


Michael T. Kanazawa:

“People don’t hate change. They hate how you’re trying to change them.”

This is a great quote. We need to remember the user when we make these changes. Think about how you will implement this change, and how it affects everyone in your organization. Also, let them adopt it at their own pace. Provide options? (SharePoint, Yammer, Communicator)

Check out more from Michael here or download the manifesto.


  • Let’s change the mindset of the organization. Why do we push people out and cut them off? Why not encourage them to continue to interact and contribute?
  • There is still value in portals. But let the user dictate what they see. Use 40% for your stuff (push). Let users do what they want with the other 60% (pull). **Netvibes example and idea generated**
  • Corporate America is run using the OSS Sabotage Manual (seriously, check it out!)

Resources & References

In no specific order.

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