Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

Curated collections for engaged employees

Random thought for today…I really, really like the notion of curated collections — lots of stuff goes in this category…from Pinterest Boards about tats to recent articles in the NY Times. I think it is a powerful indicator of expertise and something people naturally do on the web. The first ‘web sites’ I ever saw were lists of links to meaningful stuff (from that individual’s perspective) typically organized by category.  That gave birth to the homepage.

But the instinct goes way deeper than that just being a fan (or even a fanboy) of something — collecting is a human habit and, in the context of social media communications and marketing, can be a powerful indicator of expertise as well as a wonderful way to channel a natural, social behavior into a productive means to render implicit organizational knowledge explicit.

What I am thinking of in particular is that making it easy for people in your organization to create, display and share collections of links to things they find meaningful can be a powerful way to engage the workforce. It gives a context for them to to enjoy their competence, which is a very important dimension of doing meaningful work. 

We’ve done some experiments at IBM in this area — some of which have turned into product features, like social bookmarking — that have yielded promising results.  People like to create useful categories of stuff and show them off…and seeing what other people have collected, gives insight not only into who they are, but what kind of world they want to create.

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