I had a nice conversation with my friend David Allen last night and we talked about the impact of Twitter.

I shared that, from a Personal KM perspective, I see three key benefits of using Twitter:

It lowers resistance to sharing information. (The 140 character limitation is now a strength.)
It makes it easy to tap into a global mindset
And it provides quick recognition and feedback for what you think and know

I believe that we will find that Twitter and the form of communication it represents will impact our worlds in ways that exceed what we have seen with blogs or the web itself.

It is already transforming the way a small number of people work.

Within 18 months it will change our world.

This is only the beginning.

Discussion/Comments (9):

Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

Can we assume we will also have "Twitter Zero"? :-)

Posted at 02/25/2009 12:08:26 by Bruce Elgort

re: Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

Not sure that will ever happen but I may add "Review my twitter feeds" to my Weekly Review Checklist (http://www.eproductivity.com/weeklyreviewcoach)

Posted at 02/25/2009 12:12:12 by Eric Mack

Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

I think you're asking good questions, Eric. It's a wild-west time on the web--everybody's trying to figure out what Twitter is and what it means.

Robert Scoble used a term "real-time web" that caused a paradigm shift for me about Twitter and Personal KM, in general. His metaphor (I think it was his--if not it was Leo LaPorte's) was of information as a river that is passing by. You know where it's going, you know more is coming, and so you just dip in where you need to. You don't expect to "keep up"--that would be absurd. I think that goes for info in an organization as well as news/personal info.

If you use that metaphor the idea of "Twitter zero" or adding it to your Weekly Review would not make sense. Twitter is a stream that you watch when you can and want to, and let the rest pass...trusting that the important stuff will make its way back...and knowing that it's all searchable. The searchable part is key for me. If I want to quickly find out about something (a rumored Apple Tablet for example), my first stop is going to be { Link } I may not find out everything about it, but it will get me to the network of people who know or care the most about it.

This way of thinking also changes the content-creation side. Average people are sharing ideas and insights without the expectation that all of it will be read by others right away, or maybe ever. That is a huge shift and an important KM watershed since one of the barriers to capturing one's knowledge in the past has been the objection that "nobody's ever going to read this" or "what I'm doing isn't that special that I need to document it." Now, ordinary people are getting in the habit of publishing to the web when they go to get a sandwich! Imagine what that will mean for companies who want their employees to write down what they're up to. The 140 characters is just the beginning of the barrier lowering. The unbelievably low threshold for capture is the real shift here, from my perspective. (I'm planning a post about what that could mean for churches and church teams, in fact.) In GTD terms, you could say that universal capture has gone viral!

Thanks for stimulating thoughts about this, Eric. I'll be posting more on this soon, God willing.

Posted at 02/25/2009 13:14:51 by Anthony R. Pisani, Ph.D.

re: Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

Great observations and comments, Tony. Lots to think about. Many practical applciations in business, education and ministry. I look forward to reading your thoughts. - Eric

Posted at 02/26/2009 1:06:49 by Eric Mack

Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

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Posted at 02/26/2009 1:15:10 by Eric Mack

Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

Thanks for this concise post of Twitter's value from a personal KM perspective. Also I much appreciate Anthony's comment and vision of "universal capture", yet to me Twitter is quite the opposite of GTD as it confronts its users to an enormous amount of uncontextualized noise.

This is a huge productivity issue which should be a central goal of personal KM amongst the other cited benefits and currently Twitter is very bad at this. This is why i believe we're going to be seeing more and more tools helping users to digest the flux of available information more effectively and to better manage their reading priorities by contextualization – effectively GTD layers on top of Twitter.

As in enterprise (EKM), there is no perfect tool suitable for all purposes and Twitter's survival will totally depend on its ability to remain as open as possible by allowing such new layers to be built on top of it.

A great example of this is the recent release of MicroPlaza which is a kind of "Digg over Twitter" or "personalized Twitter memetracker" as ReadWriteWeb labeled it – The tool allows a user to view popular tweeted news extracted from his network, allows him to group his network users to view contextualized news, and to finally bookmark them and discuss around them straight back through their Twitter account. A very effective way to digesting Twitter news.

Either way, I'm definitely looking forward to more GTD/PKM or "personal productivity" tools to emerge over Twitter so if anyone has heard of new stuff, feel free to mention them!

Posted at 02/26/2009 3:23:54 by Olivero

Twitter as a tool for Personal Knowledge Management

Very helpful discussion. My follow/follower groups are growing daily tho still small -- but enough so I need the river metaphor and also to learn the tools for separating the stream into gold which I'll read daily and all the rest.

Posted at 04/06/2009 17:24:43 by Polly Bart

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