There’s gold in them thar hills

Are you mining? Or just digging?

Much like mining for gold, finding an answer to a question can be quite difficult. You know it’s out there; you just need to go to the right place and dig for it! Within a global organization, the activity stream has become the new knowledge “mountain.” A vast amount of valuable knowledge is shared and consumed within the stream, making it much more than a communication mechanism.

Think of NewsGator as a social pickaxe

Through working with our clients, we have come to realize that more than half of the questions that are asked in mature communities have already been answered. This inefficient process inspired us to create a kind-of ‘mining’ tool to allow people to quickly discover and learn what they need in the moment that they need it. This informal learning capability for Social Sites allows employees to easily post, discover, and search valuable peer-generated content through the creation of Knowledge Bases.

With the Knowledge Base feature, you can quickly create a wiki page from a Q&A post. NewsGator auto-fills the wiki page with the question, the answer, and who answered. You can target where you want to create the Knowledge Base – for example, a community, the global Knowledge Base, or your personal Knowledge Base. Knowledge Base items can have keywords associated with them making them easier to discover via search. With NewsGator, you can browse articles tags with a multi-tag selector.

What’s cool about these Knowledge Base articles is that users can ask additional questions or add comments, which may prompt further conversations and updates to the article. The entire conversation around the article/topic is transparent in the activity stream for everyone to see and contribute.

When you strike it rich, share!

When mining for answers, sometimes the best nuggets of information are web pages that you come across. NewsGator provides a bookmarklet to make sharing those pages as Knowledge Base articles very easy to do. Also, as many of you know, some of the best gold is found in documents, but that information often stays hidden. To make documents more discoverable and therefore more useful, users can create a Knowledge Base article to help describe why an individual document or group of documents is helpful.

So although I have never actually mined for gold, I often imagine that when I ask a question to my peers I know I will receive timely, accurate answers “in them thar activity streams” – and that’s my daily gold rush!

How do you get answers after search results have turned up nothing and you’ve consulted the peers you already know?

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