On terminology

I’ve had some interesting meetings at work recently (colour me amazed). Whilst they were about quite different things, I saw a common theme emerge in them, and it was all about terminology. In one meeting we were discussing the creation of an interactive web site, something that would encourage reader feedback (i.e. comments), would use news feed technology and so forth. It would have date-stamped articles, and would provide an archive of posted content.

In other words, one could argue that this site is going to be pretty much like a weblog. Oh the horror! This site is corporate, so we cannot use the term “blog” when we talk about it. If we do, various lawyers, risk management types—call them what you will—will be all over the project like a cheap suit. Interesting. But what is more interesting followed the same day:

Another discussion centred around a knowledge management project. As soon as mention was made of knowledge management, a number of people pulled faces, and expressed surprise that funding was still available for “KM inititiatives”. Indeed, later on in an IM session one colleague was amazed that knowledge management was still lingua franca in our organisation. Extraordinary; clearly there is an “anti-KM” backlash going on out there somewhere. Dave Gurteen, a KM specialist (Domino site alert!), discusses this in a recent InsideKnowledge article:

Yes, the phrase knowledge management is a poor description and because of much of the early hype and failures, it has a bad name in some quarters as a result. But we need to face up to that.

KM is not going away. Indeed, it is becoming more important than ever. The term is an established one. Books, courses, conferences, workshops and university modules and degrees abound on the subject.

So can I suggest we use the name with pride?

So is KM still “allowed” in your organisation?

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.