My UOKM Story (What I have learned this semester):

ImageThe world is a vast and complex place, inhabited by 7,110,792,068[1]  different people with varying backgrounds, personalities, and interests. Each and every person on this planet is composed of a unique set of genetic material that differs from one person to the next, which contributes to his or her unique and varied experience on earth. However, while we are all different from one another in a variety of ways, there is one element that ties us all together – our innate desire for human connection.

Throughout history, mankind has gone to extreme lengths in order to communicate with members of its own species. As Dr. Levy explained on March 27, 2013, writing, knowledge and culture have all gone through an evolutionary process, dating back to the primordial stage, wherein tribes would communicate to one another using oral narratives, transient symbols and symbiotic knowledge. From this point onwards, numerous advancements have been made to the communicative process, as humans developed the alphabet, learned to write and go to school, and invent machines such as the printing press, telegraph, television and other forms of mass media that enabled the reproduction and diffusion of knowledge between fellow humans – both near and far. [2]

However, while each innovation transformed the media landscape within its own right, the Internet has truly revolutionized the way we interact with one another, by providing us with the necessary tools to connect, share and collaborate with the billions of people living in this increasing participatory world.

This is where my journey as a student in Knowledge Management & Social Media begins….


As a Masters student in the Communication department, we have learned about the various technological mediums that have affected the way that humans communicate and function within society. However, throughout the history of my scholarship, I have never participated in a class that has had such as a strong emphasis on the use of the Internet as there has been in CMN 5150. While this course exposed us to a variety of topics associated with knowledge management and social media, the 3 main over-arching themes that will be discussed below are as follows: Knowledge Management; Big Data & Collective Intelligence, as I believe they best encapsulate the overall sentiment of the course as a whole.

Knowledge Management:
As previously mentioned, the communicative process dates back thousands of years to a time when knowledge was exchanged orally. As we continue to evolve, our similarities to our primate ancestors become less evident due to our growing symbolic cognition, reflexivity, ability to engage in complex dialogue and create narratives [3], as well as our ability to manipulate the increasing database of information to our benefit, as will be discussed further down. However, while the evolution of knowledge is a long and complex process, the following chart has simplified the entre process into 5 basic stages, wherein each stage builds off the previous one. In this regard, while we still communicate with one another in a face-to-face manner, we can also write and save information through a variety of mediums (script, typewriter, computer, etc) and have it disseminated to vast audiences.  While each stage is equally important to the process as a whole, the later stages are where the greatest degree of knowledge management occurs.[4]


The term knowledge management encompasses the use of storytelling and personal learning networks in order to identify, capture, evaluate, retrieve, currate and share “all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers”[5]. This can be done both on a personal level (PKM) or a social level that utilizes a variety of sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Scoopit and WordPress, which allow users to engage with other people and share attained information. Through the process of Stigmergic Collaboration, peers add to, and benefit from, the existing environment of knowledge, by creating a story or “civilized creative conversation.”

To join in on the conversation surrounding knowledge management, use the twitter hashtag #KnowledgeManagement

Big Data:

As the world’s population continues to expand and new corporations continuously crop up in order to meet the demands of the global marketplace, the business world has found itself striving for new ways to handle consumer data in order to anticipate trends; increase productivity; and become increasingly innovative, which in turn has been changing society in an unprecedented manner.

However, Data Sets have become “so large and complex that  [they have] become difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.”[6] As such, Big Data tools such as new computer software and data analysts, play a tremendous role, by sifting, filtering, curating and analyzing the various forms of aggregated data – painting different portraits depending on the size of the data utilized. In this regard, “what is considered “big data” varies depending on the capabilities of the organization managing the set, and on the capabilities of the applications that are traditionally used to process and analyze the data set in its domain.” [7] This sentiment is furthered by Skirky, who claims that “when you aggregate a lot of something, it behaves in new ways, and our new communications tools are aggregating out individual ability to create and share, at unprecedented levels of more.”[8] As such, Big Data can take many forms, such as cloud computing, DNA storage (human genome project) and user analytics, in order to predict patterns hidden to the naked eye. However, while computers do the majority of the processing, humans are still an essential component within the equation, as they are required to deconstruct the various contexts through which the data emerges. Software alone has yet to replace this aspect of human cognition.


To join in on the conversation surrounding big data, use the twitter hashtag #BigData

Collective Intelligence:

Finally, the theory of Collective Intelligence was introduced to us by Dr. Levy, as a “type of shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals.” [9] The Internet facilitates this form of intelligence by allowing peers from around the world to contribute to the global knowledge databank, as evidenced by the open source encyclopedia Wikipedia that not only allows users to participate, but requires their input in order to ensure the site’s success. In this regard Tapscott and Williams believe that “companies can tap into the emerging global marketplaces to find uniquely qualified minds and discover and develop new products and services faster and much more efficiently than they have in the past, much like the bustling agoras that sprung up in the heart of Athens.”[10]

As such, this reinforces the notion that we are living in an increasingly participatory culture. According to Skirky, “Media is actually like a triathlon, with three different events: people like to consume, but they also like to produce, and to share. We’ve always enjoyed all three of those activities, but until recently, broadcast media rewarded only one of them,”[11] and that by “harnessing of our cognitive surplus allows people to behave in increasingly generous, public, and social ways, relative to their old status as consumers and couch potatoes.”[12] In addition, Tapscott and Williams discuss 4 principles of mass collaboration/collective intelligence that organizations have begun to harness in order to drive innovation in their workplaces, communities, and industries:[13]

  • Being open
  • Peering
  • Sharing
  • Acting globally

Finally, they claim that “new forms of peer production enable firms to harvest knowledge, resources, and talent on a scale that was previously impossible.”[14] Through this peer production, the notion of a prosumer (producer + consumer) has come to the forefront, and has reinforced the tremendous value that can be extrapolated from collective intelligence.

light bulbs sketched on chalkboard Many small ideas make a big one

To join in on the conversation surrounding Collective Intelligence, use the twitter hashtag #CollectiveIntelligence

If this class has taught me one thing, it is that one’s online presence requires constant management if the user wishes to make the most of what today’s participatory culture has to offer. We are all personally responsible for the maintenance of the world’s collective memory, and the use of  filters, hyperlinks and originality help to add to the online community, helping to transform the communicative environment.[15]

In sum, this class had focused primarily on the participatory culture of the Internet and the endless possibilities that come with when one learns to manage their social interactions, and engage in the process of collective intelligence. There are 7,110,792,068 people inhabiting this world. That’s 7,110,792,068 hearts beating, lungs filling with oxygen and minds racing with ideas. Just imagine what could be achieved if all 7,110,792,068 minds came together for one common goal…

[1] GeoHive. (2013). Current World Population. Data retrieved April 4, 2013 from

[2] Levy, P. (2013) Lecture on Cultural Evolution from March 27, 2013. University of Ottawa.

[3] Levy, P. (2013) Lecture on the Knowledge of Knowledge from January 16, 2013. University of Ottawa.

 [4] Levy, P. (2013) Lecture on Cultural Evolution from March 27, 2013. University of Ottawa.

[5] Koenig, M. (2012, May 4). What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained. KM World. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from…/What-is-KM-Knowledge-Management-Explained-82405.aspx

[6] Wikipedia. (2013). Big Data. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

[7] Wikipedia. (2013). Big Data. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

[8] Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: Penguin Books.

[9] Wikipedia. (2013). Collective Intelligence. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

[10] Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything. New York: Portfolio (p.98)

[11] Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: Penguin Books. (p.22)

[12] Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: Penguin Books. (p.63)

[13] Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything. New York: Portfolio

[14] Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything. New York: Portfolio. (pp.269-270).

[15] Levy, P. (2013) Lecture on Knowledge Management and Communication from January 23, 2013. University of Ottawa.

Relevant Links, Videos & Subject Matter:

Bautista, C. (2013). Fleksy keyboard lets you text without looking. Retrieved March 19, 2013 from

Bautista, C. (2013). Your Facebook profile could determine mental illness. Retrieved March 15, 2013 from

Bonnington, C. (2013). She’s not talking about it, but Siri is plotting world domination. Retrieved March 22, 2013 from

Bradberry, T. (2012). Top 10 emotional intelligence moments of 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2013 from

Chmielewski, D. C. (2013). Binge-viewing is transforming the television experience. Retrieved February 9, 2013 from

Grove, S. (2013). Hanging out in the public square. Retrieved February 15, 2013 from

Havens, J. (2012). How big data can make us happier and healthier. Retrieved January 28, 2013 from

Jasper, L. (2013). Big data intelligence: New oppotunities for collaboration. Retrieved January 23, 2013 from

Larson, E. (2013). What your Facebook likes say about you. Retrieved March 15, 2013 from

Marsh, H. (2012). Stigmergy. Retrieved January 24, 2013 from

Orwant, J. (2013). Ngram Viewer 2.0. Retrieved January 31, 2013 from

Stadd, A. (2013). Twitter vs. Facebook: How Facebook’s News Feed Redesign Affects Twitter. Retrieved March 18, 2013 from

Sutherland, M. (2013). Nick D’Aloisio, Britain’s 17-year-old app entrepreneur. Retrieved March 28, 2013 from

Vila, M. (2013). Will Facebook’s changes drive away the teen crowd? Retrieved March 15, 2013 from

Yuhanna, N. & Gualtieri, M. (2013). Big Data Lives or Dies Based on Customer Data Management Strategy. Retrieved March 26, 2013 from

Zwilling, M. (2013). Predictive Analytics is a Goldmine for Startups. Retrieved March 20, 2013 from


Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Bilton, N. (2010). I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. New York: Crown Business.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.

Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Books

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Radical Openness: Four Unexpected Principles for Success. Ted Conference, 28

Weinberger, D. (2008). Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That Facts Aren’t Fact, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the RoomBasic Books


EMC. (2013). The Human Face of Big Data. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

TedTalks. (2013) Don Tapscott: Four Principles for the open world. Retrieved March 8, 2013 from

YouTube. (2013). Social Media Revolution. Retrieved January 16, 2013 from  


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