Web 2.0 and Intro to Knowledge Sharing

Web 2.0 is a relatively new phenomenon especially in regard to knowledge management in organizations. According to Levy, Web 2.0 came about because of the rise and growth of the internet and more access to the internet. Web 2.0 revolves around people rather than just commerce. How  people engage and connect with one another online is an important aspect of Web 2.0. In an earlier blog post I discussed customer knowledge management in an earlier blog post, and it revolves around the importance people (aka customers) are to a company. It has led to a more active users and a decline in passive users online. discussed this issue of active and passive users in her blog post and suggested there were no (are almost none) passive users left. Now I have heard about Web 2.0 before and even created a website for a class that revolved around research about Web 2.0. Enterprise 2.0, however, was something I had not encountered before. It is not terribly complicated to see because according to Levy (2009) “It is the implementation of the Web 2.0 infrastructure and/or tools by organizations” (p. 125).

It was interesting reading Levy’s article because it was written 7 years ago and some things have changed since then. The web has evolved quite a bit since then. She quotes some people as being leery of Web 2.0 and hesitant to incorporate it into their organization.  I wonder how much of that is true today? I mean, I realize that there are still people who hesitate over using Web 2.0 and have a hard time seeing its advantages, but I wonder if that has lessened over the years. I discussed Starbucks in a previous blog post and how they have implemented social media, which are build on Web 2.0, into their organization and reaching out to their customers better. They have been quite successful in that (now if only they could decrease their prices lol) and other organizations have been successful as well.

According to Yuan and Zhao, whose article came out in 2013, social media and other Web 2.0 tools have increasingly been adopted by organizations. More popular social media services include micro-blogging (think Twitter) and wikis. One little thing I found interesting is that they suggest that tacit knowledge is best obtaining tacit knowledge (because of being able to observe) and codified knowledge is best shared through emails, documents, and social media. They also mention that the more complex the task, the more helpful many forms of social media can be. The findings of the article showed that social media can help people be more aware of the expertise of others, they can motivate contribution, and they can help in the development and maintenance of social capital (p. 1667). I can see this in my own life. Because I am now on Twitter, have been writing a blog, and contribute to groups on Facebook like ALA ThinkTank, I am aware the expertise of the people who post to those groups and Twitter. People also seem more motivated to contribute to what is posted on social media, whether it is sharing something or engaging in conversations with other people.

One of the purposes of their article is to see how it compares to existing information and communication technologies in helping meet employee’s knowledge sharing needs. This leads to the issue and challenges of knowledge sharing in organizations. This a topic I will delve more into with my next blog post. Finding needed knowledge involves being aware of where it exists, then it needs to be determined if it can be transferred. The problem of sharing knowledge is that it takes time (especially if it is sharing tacit knowledge which is difficult to articulate), and it can take away competitive advantage. In the article by Wasko and Faraj, they go further into this and question why do people contribute and share knowledge when they may not gain anything from sharing. In terms of organizations, members could benefit from external knowledge as they get access to new information they would not have had access to before. One way to help create those links to external knowledge resources is through electronic communication networks. The interesting thing about these networks is that oftentimes people who participate are typically strangers (Wasko and Faraj, 2013, p. 37). They believe it is irrational for people to voluntarily contribute time, effort, and knowledge when they could free ride on everyone else. Why do we choose to participate and contribute? I must say this is a question that I wonder about and the answer may be both simple and incredibly complicated. They propose (at its most basic) that the reason we participate and contribute is because of the relationships we form. I can see that being a factor because the relationships I form with people (whether in person or electronically) cause me to want to contribute more and engage more. In regards to organizations, Wasko and Faraj suggest that knowledge sharing is essential to organizations because it gives them access to a larger network of resources. The biggest question is how can an organization participate in knowledge sharing, especially with external sources of knowledge, without giving up their competitive advantage.



Levy, M. (2009). Web 2.0 implications on knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(1), 120-134.

Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS quarterly, 29(1), 35-57.

Yuan, Y. C., Zhao, X., Liao, Q., & Chi, C. (2013). The use of different information and communication technologies to support knowledge sharing in organizations: From e-mail to micro-blogging. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(8), 1659-1670.




6 thoughts on “Web 2.0 and Intro to Knowledge Sharing

  1. Pingback: The Story of our Work | Mary's Blog

  2. We’ve gone way past web 2.0 in the seven years since Levy published that article. Enterprise now employs and uses software as a service — cloud computing and like — which will soon incorporate deep learning (a version of artificial intelligence). This plus the standard web 2.0 developments are leading to not just increased participation but increased participation plus a greater leverage of knowledge and information sources.


  3. Pingback: Relationships in Communities & Networks | hereticalpoetical

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