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Connecting Organizational Silos: Taking Knowledge Flow Management to the Next Level with Social Media by Frank Leistner

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BREAKING ISOLATION

If you needed to describe in one single word what social media platforms offer, the best one in my mind is proximity. Traditional social networks (i.e., those in the real, nondigital world) are usually limited to meetings at regular intervals. In the Stone Age, people interacted only locally and when they physically saw each other. With more and faster ways to travel and communicate, it became easier to create the proximity for building network ties.

The Hanseatic League was a famous trade organization that existed from the 12th to the 17th century and connected a number of cities in northern Europe. Networking was a very important part of the business, but in-person meetings happened on a monthly basis, at best, depending on where people were located. With today’s ease of travel via plane, networking on a global level has become a lot easier, but it still takes a day travel from the United States to Australia, meaning the costs (in every sense) for such interactions are considerable. Face-to-face contact offers a number of different channels that cannot be replaced by virtual interaction, even today, but with audio and video we are getting closer. In fact, gestures, smell, ambiance, and much more cannot be underestimated, as communication is up to 80 percent nonverbal.

Nevertheless, frequent interaction through a social media platform can make up for some of it and enrich face-to-face meetings when they happen. Through exchanging stories and getting more familiar ...

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