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Knowledge Mobilization: Inclusive Knowledge Bridging the Types, Uses, and Places of Knowledge

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)

Reviewing some of my Delicious bookmarks, I re-read Waiting for the Social Semantic Web. What struck me again is a statement about the distinction between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 – the so-called semantic web. As we gather information by bookmarking and tagging we are linking various topics with various contexts – creating links to assist us in easier tracking and referral. But we are also contributing to the future of intelligent machines. The great divide between humans and thinking machines appears to be getting smaller with every tag that links information in a more digital way. Supposedly, the Semantic Web will make information stored on the Internet even more readily accessible not only to humans but to intelligent machines in a more meaningful way.

But how do we define intelligence and what is meant by meaningful? Meaningful is a slippery word that should not be confused with meaning.

Meaning has a definitional element, a descriptor for an object. Meaningful has a subjective element that is personalized with each individual. As we all know, what is meaningful to one person may not be meaningful to another. So can intelligent machines have meaningful knowledge?

Before answering that,  it’s necessary to first understand what is meant by knowledge. There are many forms of knowledge: academic, expertise or skill, theoretical or practical, awareness or basic understanding. Further types of knowledge include communicating (style) knowledge, situated knowledge, partial knowledge, scientific knowledge and symbolic knowledge. Yet, even the very definition of knowledge continues to be debated.

There are also two uses of knowledge: instrumental (the practical application of knowledge as a means or agency), and conceptual (the thoughtful, reflective process). How knowledge is used is also dependent upon context.

Is knowledge strictly something academic (objective) and found in the ivory towers of university or formal institutions of the world, or is knowledge something that every person (subjective) in the community has to share? This is at the heart of knowledge mobilization (KMb) where definitional knowledge is now being enmeshed with meaningful knowledge. Knowledge Mobilization is now connecting definitial knowledge with meaningful knowledge by connecting research and researchers with community organizations and individuals – listening to their voices while also providing information with a more social, collaborative approach to knowledge.

Now back to the semantic machines…

Like those intelligent machines, KMb is creating links to bridge the great, historical divides between types of knowledge, the use of knowledge, and the places of knowledge – in order to contribute to the greater benefit of society.

While the Semantic Web is advancing slowly – also being formed based on the linking of all types, uses, and places of knowledge – these three elements of knowledge are already being combined in Knowledge Mobilization. It’s through KMb that meaningful knowledge is being created by including, listening to, learning from, and linking all aspects of knowledge.

Intelligent machines may not actually be capable of creating meaningful knowledge, but using social media and the Internet for Knowledge Mobilization is a key way of contributing meaningful knowledge to the machines – and more importantly to the greater benefit of humans in society.

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A Comparison Of Knowledge Broker Websites

I am very pleased to have been a guest blogger for ResearchImpact – Canada’s Knowledge Mobilization Network. You can follow ResearchImpact on their blog Mobilize This! and on twitter (@researchimpact). This is a reposting of that blog, and I’d like to thank ResearchImpact for asking me to be a guest blogger for MobilizeThis!

I wrote about three relatively new online resources for knowledge brokers, and along with ResearchImpact, I am also glad to see new entrants into the KMb global family (from UK, US and Australia). My comparison shows that all provide value for knowledge brokers and that Research into Action (from @KTExchange) has some resources similar to those offered by ResearchImpact (where they are also “turning research into action”).

Most readers of the Mobilize This! blog (and for readers of my own KMbeing blog) will know that Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) is being more frequently used to describe how researchers and individuals within community organizations are using research to inform decisions in public policy and professional practice. KMb consists of a variety of methods in which research and knowledge is transferred, translated, exchanged and co-produced to enhance the practical application of knowledge between researchers and research-users.
Important to the KMb process is the role of the Knowledge Broker in linking researchers and community (for more information on the role of the Knowledge Broker see Jonathan Lomas The in-between world of knowledge brokering).
As part of a current digital research project for ResearchImpact, I did a comparative analysis of three new (or newly re-designed) broker websites with varying degrees of interactivity and collaboration. I was curious to see what some other organizations are offering brokers, social innovators and other knowledge mobilizers. After a web search using the keyword knowledge broker the following top websites were listed:

Research into Action (RIA)

Knowledge Brokers’ Forum (KBF)

Australian Social Innovation eXchange (ASIX)

Overall Rating (RIA):

• Excellent Presentation & Content
• Great Use of Social Media & Networking Tools
• Canadian Content – A Podcast interview with Dr. Melanie Barwick (Sick Kid’s Hospital, Toronto) & Headlining Quote From Dr. Barwick on Home Page/ CIHR defined in website Glossary page.  RIA also has podcasts from Drs. Nancy Edwards and Anita Kothari, both CIHR researchers; and a very entertaining podcast from Jonathan Lomas of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.
• Well Staffed With Two Specific Communications Specialists
• Collaboration Possibilities with other Research Brokers

Overall Rating (KBF):

• Most Similar to ResearchImpact Website
• Good Content of Blogs
• Use of Delicious Bookmarks
• Resources (articles) for intermediaries and knowledge brokers
• Canadian Content – Canadian Knowledge Broker Core Competency Framework Link
• Recommend Adding ResearchImpact Mobilize This! Blog To This Website

Overall Rating (ASIX):

• More Social Innovation Than KMb or Knowledge Brokering (Collaborative Style Think Tank)
• Good Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) & OK Use of Blog Links (But Not KMb Specific)
• Website Not KMb Focused or Broker Focused, but still informative
• Mostly A Forum for Australian Social Innovation Camp (New: 1st Camp 2010)
• No North American Content (Only Found One Profile Beyond Australia from London UK)

Funding & Affiliation:

I would like to thank Research into Action’s Rick Austin who commented on my guest blog for ResearchImpact and pointed out that I incorrectly attributed funding for RIA from The University of Texas (School of Public Health), and from the The Institute for Health Policy.

Rick kindly informed me that RIF is actually funded by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation. My apologies for my mistake. What is also interesting is that they request donation funding right on their website for anyone wishing to make a private donation. RIA was founded in 2007.

The Knowledge Brokers’ Forum receives funding from international agencies such as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The website does not mention when KBF was founded.

The Australian Social Innovation eXchange is more formally known as the Australian Social Innovation Exchange Limited incorporated and is an independent non-profit company, founded in 2008.

Conclusion:
All three websites can be used as credible links and sources of information for knowledge brokers; however, I highly recommend Research into Action for anyone looking for a practical website that can be used as a tool in learning more about current knowledge brokering taking place, and as a collaborative website for researchers and research users to post their own information.
Although Research into Action appears to be a closer fit to ResearchImpact, The Knowledge Brokers’ Forum or The Australian Social Innovation eXchange are also great sites for gaining information and mobilizing knowlege.

Knowledge Mobilization, Universities and The Knowledge Revolution

Walter Stewart, who considers himself a “client-centered” consultant “for a knowlede-based economy” was a keynote speaker at the annual Canadian Higher Education Information Technology Conference (CANHEIT) held this past summer at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada.  Several months have past since his presentation, but his challenge to universities – to IT administrators, staff and academic institutions as a whole (as well as the broader challenge to society) – still remains an extremely relevant call. I only recently received a forwarded copy of his presentation, but feel his views continue to be worth hearing.

Stewart talked about the current knowledge paradigm shift that I referred to in my last blog.  He pointed out that universities (and society in general) are experiencing a knowledge revolution – a revolution in ways of knowing – unprecendented in the past thousand years. According to Stewart it is part of a “process that is changing the very ways human beings know.” He suggests that those working in universities need to examine their information infrastructures and require “a well-developed sense of context” to keep up to the emergence of our new digital world, the “primacy of data” and the evolving knowledge economy (especially in emerging markets like China and India).

Stewart suggests the current role of the university is changing with the knowledge-based economy as they move from serving a niche elite market of scholars and researchers to serving a broader number of learners and knowledge mobilizers. I was very interested in Stewart’s approach in admonishing universities to evolve, and the implications of his message for all of society.

In previous posts of my blog, I have pointed out how researchers (academic/institutional) and research-users are working more collaboratively through knowledge mobilization as part of a greater free flow of data that is contributing to the greater benefit of society. As a community-based digital researcher working within (but not officially affiliated with) a university, it’s my intention to show the greater context that Stewart is talking about that is the reason for knowledge mobilization.

 

 

 

 

 

I am what Angie Hart (no, not the Australian pop singer Angie Hart!) would call “a boundary spanner” helping to bring university and community together.  I am attempting to bring greater awareness of how knowledge mobilization at the community level can inform researchers at the university level and vice versa. It’s good to see someone like Walter Stewart making that message known to university administrators directly. Stewart’s message is a knowledge mobilization message relevant to all of us – now living in a knowledge-driven digital age.

For the video of Walter Stewart’s keynote address link here AND SCROLL DOWN TO… Keynote 6: The Role of Higher Educational Institutions in Infrastructure
Walter Stewart
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 8:45 – 9:45

The Knowledge Mobilization Paradigm Shift

Using social media for knowledge mobilization is the most important thing we can do as part of the newly-evolving paradigm shift from an information society to a knowledge society. We are seeing a transition from an economy based on material goods and information to one based on knowledge goods and mobilization using social media as an essential tool.

In order to understand this current paradigm shift, we must first recall previous societal revolutions from Agricultural to Industrial to Scientific – with the later leading to our more recent Information society and the subsequent greater manufacturing of material goods.

We must then understand the distinction of data, information, knowledge and knowledge mobilization. Of primary importance in the scientific revolution (and of course still today), data comes through research and collection. Information is how the data is organized. Knowledge is then built upon information, and Knowledge Mobilization is knowing what to do with that knowledge – how to synthesize the knowledge of both researchers and communities (academics and non-academics) in order to make it useful to society. Knowledge mobilization is the creation of multi-dimensional knowledge links or activities for the benefit of society.

At a recent business dinner I was asked by an executive member of an Ottawa based research organization how to best begin incorporating a knowledge mobilization strategy for what appears to be a research organization of  “old, white-collar dinosaurs” heading into irrelevance.

I suggested three key integrated steps to help them breath new life into their agency:

1) Face-To-Face Interaction: Getting their executive group to meet with other advisors from a variety of research, community and social media sectors – either in workshops, presentations or casual cocktail sessions – to generate conversation and ideas for funding and future projects.

2) Social Media Strategy: Developing a social media strategy that includes at least one designated social media staff member to help further promote the agencies work and firmly link and entrench the agency in the new paradigm shift by a successful use of social media tools like Twitter or Blogs.

3) Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Constantly promoting and presenting the agency’s own knowledge while being informed by Face-To-Face Interaction and a Social Media Strategy about how to synthesize external knowledge with their own – through Knowledge Mobilization – for better use to society, and not just within their own specialization.

Researchers, government and community agencies are developing deeper relationships than ever before through knowledge mobilization.  Social media tools for knowledge mobilization are helping these agencies achieve meaningful results beyond just good information sharing.

The knowledge society is a new phase of society using social media sites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook that make knowledge mobilization faster, efficient and more practical. But some researchers, scholarly associations, federations and government agencies are still not aware of the major importance and role that social media is playing in this emerging society today.

Those recognizing the major significance of using social media beyond casual conversations and family/friends contact (see previous blog) will help keep the older forms and structures of academic, government and community agencies from becoming irrelevant and dying out. Those who don’t…well?

Macro & Micro Knowlege Mobilization – The Social Link Between Researchers and Research Users

(KMb Knowledge Mobilization)

Here’s a knowledge mobilization challenge for any researchers, community workers or policy makers…O.K. let’s open it up even further to anyone who is a research user (if you think you don’t use research in your everyday life – think again):

Ask as many employees, co-workers, faculty members, bosses, clients, patients, consumers, teachers, friends or family about using social media for knowledge mobilization (O.K…anyone you know). How many can tell you they used an iPhone app for knowledge mobilization? (If they don’t know what knowledge mobilization is – send them to this link). When was the last time one of them posted something insightful on Facebook with implications for research rather than a personal post for friends and family? Who provides or has ever received links about research, the work of community organizations or announcements and requests for input from policy makers on Twitter? Or quite basically, when was the last time you watched a TV show or news broadcast about current discoveries, or talked face-to-face to someone about really interesting things you know about in your life? Did you share your insights or discoveries using social media to pass that knowledge on?

If your experience is similar to mine, far too often you’ll hear “What’s knowledge mobilization?”; “I’m too old to use a computer”; “I only use Facebook to keep connected with friends and family” or “Twitter seems like a waste of time!”

But more often you’ll hear “Did you see that discovery/invention/how-to/news story about…?”; “I was talking to so-and-so about this great idea…” or “My son/daughter/husband wife came home from school/work today and told me something new they’re learning/doing.”

So why the uncertainty about social media for knowledge mobilization and the assumption that social media is only for casual conversations, or that some of the more informative casual conversations don’t count as knowledge mobilization? Because many people don’t understand the use of social media beyond the common meaning of social (casual conversations or entertainment links and blogs) to the influential meaning of social in social media. Many don’t recognize how they can play a part in the development of research and policy making – by sharing some of their more basic, informative conversations.

I refer to this as the micro level of knowledge mobilization using social media -when each person informs and contributes knowledge for the greater benefit of society via the web through their everyday social circles.

The macro level of knowledge mobilization refers to the more formal multi-dimensional links or activities among researchers and research-users that takes place between university or institutional researchers and community organizations or policymakers.

All of us talk to real people and share knowledge whether it’s face-to-face or on Web accounts and social media pages – we interact with each other formally or informally sharing knowledge. And as adoption of social media tools continues to evolve – like mobile apps that merge online and face-to-face encounters – we will begin to have more face-to-face “social media” interactions that are perfect opportunities for micro and macro levels of knowledge mobilization.

So ask some questions and share some answers via social media with your employees, co-workers, faculty members, bosses, clients, patients, consumers, friends or family. It may or may not be at the macro level of knowledge mobilization, but it’s always worthwhile to pass knowledge on even at the micro level of knowledge mobilization.

Making Knowledge Mobilization Connections Using Social Media – The Old Spice Way

Facebook and Twitter have become such familiar words globally. When social media nouns like Facebook and Twitter become verbs as quickly as Google did (“Did you Google him?”  or “I’ll Facebook you” or “I’ll Twitter you“) we need to sit up and pay attention – especially with using these tools for greater knowledge mobilization.

Recently, we’ve all seen a greater number of marketers taking advantage of the popularity of social media to sell products quite successfully. The popularity of the recent Old Spice campaign has infused new life into an outdated product that many aptly considered only for Old Men! Some may find these ads annoying, some may find them savvy, and some may even find them sexy and distracting. But it shows that using a social media strategy seriously can create a far-reaching tool to spread knowledge about a product.

So why aren’t more knowledge brokers using a social media strategy to create a far-reaching tool to mobilize knowledge? (Yet another verb!). Isn’t knowledge that contributes to better social policy and decision making just as (or even more) important as selling products? Yet, it surprises me whenever I ask colleagues in the academic or KMb world if they have a Facebook or Twitter account and they say “no’! Perhaps because some think that such social media tools are only for marketers or for friends & family contacts.

One example of a successful KMb social media strategy comes from ResearchImpact’s Mobilize This! and their Twitter feed which helps translate research into clear language while also being informed by KMb from the social media community.

I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you’re probably already making knowledge mobilization connections using social media. If by chance you’ve somehow managed to stumble across this blog and you’re not using social media to mobilize knowledge what are you waiting for?

If you’re not making knowledge mobilization connections using social media, you’re like the old man who uses old spice only because of an old way of limited and old-style thinking. Perhaps it’s time to splash on some new KMb cologne and attract some greater social media attention.

Knowledge Mobilization: Definition & Terminology

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)

Whenever I mention the work I do in knowledge mobilization, inevitably someone asks me to explain what that means.  Unfortunately, there are a variety of similar terms being used to roughly define the same thing, which has a tendency to “muddy the waters” of explanation.  I engage with other professionals – especially through the Ontario Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Community of Practice (KTE Cop) – and I continue to push for agreement on the use of one, clear term (knowledge mobilization) to describe the work we do. But, it’s not that simple to find agreement as each term has its own history and sometimes very defensive, personal appeal.

First, to define KMb:

Fellow knowledge mobilizer and Director of Knowledge Mobilization Works,  Peter Levesque states that the term originates from the French term mobilisation – making ready for service or action.

KMb consists of a variety of methods in which research and knowledge is transferred, translated, exchanged and co-produced to enhance the practical application of knowledge between researchers and research-users (individuals and community organizations seeking to use research to inform decisions in public policy and professional practice).

Yet KMb is not limited to academic or more formal knowledge. It also includes informal knowledge such as narratives or even Internet blogging/microblogging/wikispaces if it informs and contributes to the greater benefit for society.

However, a multiplicity of terms and concepts are used to describe aspects of KMb including knowledge utilization, knowledge transfer, knowledge exchange, knowledge management, knowledge translation, diffusion of innovation, research impacts, and research utilization. Three of the most frequently used terms are knowledge transfer, knowledge utilization, and knowledge exchange.


I argue that all of these terms – including knowledge transfer and knowledge transfer & exchange – falls short in stating the multiple influences of the co-production of knowledge. Exchange still suggests a sharing of knowledge within separate fields of application. KMb is a more recent term and is gaining greater use as it focuses more on the multiple contributions and co-production of new knowledge.

KMb emphasizes the multi-directional links or activities among researchers and research-users with greater emphasis on the multiple contributions and co-operation for the creation of knowledge. KMb includes an array of interdisciplinary methodologies and techniques at many levels and directions to mobilize knowledge within a broader framework.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in conjunction with McMaster University’s Health Sciences Department and Health Information Unit (HiRU), along with the Canadian Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools has created a Wikispace intending to help define and compare terms and concepts across a variety of disciplines using KT. CIHR uses KTE, while The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) prefers using knowledge mobilization as a more appropriate term.

With so many terms being used to describe the same thing, perhaps it’s time to agree on using only one term – a more inclusively descriptive term – knowledge mobilization.

A Little Knowledge Mobilization History Lesson

The belief that having and exchanging knowledge greatly contributes to the advancement of civilization is argued to go back as far as the Greeks (Rich, 1979. Science Communication, 1, 6-30). From the early twentieth-century, one of the great fore-thinkers and contributors to the idea of relational behaviour and knowledge exchange is the French sociologist and social psychologist Gabriel Tarde. Among his theories, Tarde proposed a different way of looking at the social world, not from the perspective of the individual or the group, but from how products, acts and ideas (including knowledge) can be used to classify individuals or groups.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend an Ontario KTE (Knowledge Transfer & Exchange) Community of Practice (CoP) event. I am a member of this KTE CoP and was excited to finally meet nursing scholar and knowledge utilization researcher, Carole Estabrooks at her presentation: Exploring the Applicability of Research to the Practice of Knowledge Translation. The decades of Estabrooks’ work and experience was evident as she shared her knowledge about the history, contexts and research being done in the practice of knowledge translation (knowledge mobilization) today (see blog about KMb definition & terminology).

In a longtitudinal analysis paper, Estabrooks  and colleagues have traced the historical development of the knowledge transfer field between 1945 and 2005 with an author co-citation analysis of over 5,000 scholarly articles. Their research shows limited citation before the 1960s. It’s not until the mid-1960s that a flourishing of the literature on knowledge transfer and knowledge utilization began, with the largest increase from 1995 to 2004. One of the most cited authors and contributors to the field is considered to be Everett Rogers.

It was Rogers who furthered Tarde’s “laws of imitation” in the 1962 book Diffusion of innovations. Rogers also identifies nine major disciplines in which research diffusion is most prominent: anthropology, early sociology, rural sociology, education, public health/medical sociology, communication, marketing, geography, general sociology, and a miscellaneous “other”.  Certainly, many of the members of the KTE CoP are included in these and equally diverse backgrounds. Evolving from diffusion of innovation, Rogers worked with colleagues G.M. Beal and Ronald Havelock to develop the term knowledge generation, exchange, and utilization to provide a more interactive understanding of the process of knowledge use, with a view that knowledge should be useful to society.

Estabrooks explains that knowledge transfer and knowledge utilization emerged as two new domains from the parent domain diffusion of innovation between 1975 and 1984. It’s not until 1992 that a new domain of knowledge utilization appears with the emergence of evidence-based medicine. More recently, knowledge mobilization has emerged to fill the void of the limitation of evidence-based medicine’s exclusion of theoretical or creative forms of knowledge. Other forms of knowledge include indigenous knowledge (such as narrative traditions) or informal knowledge that may influence a greater exchange of ideas leading to government and community policy-making.

It’s the more inclusive and multiple-contribution elements of knowledge mobilization that create greater opportunities to inform and enhance how knowledge is exchanged and co-produced today – especially today via social media. Knowledge mobilization stems from a long history – as far back as the Greeks – and continues to echo the view that exchanging knowledge continues to greatly contribute to the advancement of society – whether from dialogue in the Greek Acropolis to blogging on the Internet.

Defining The Digital Researcher (Part Two)

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)

In an earlier blog I explained how the term Digital Researcher is fairly new to describe an emerging style of research that exclusively uses the Internet for data collection and knowledge mobilization.  I mentioned that I couldn’t even find a definition in one of the key Internet encyclopedic sources…Wikipedia, and asked if there were any takers up to the task of starting a new Wikipedia entry. As I use this title to describe my work, I decided it was time to submit my own Wikipedia entry to define what I do.

A Digital Researcher is a person who uses digital technology such as computers or a PDA and the Internet, especially the World Wide Web, to do research (see also internet research). A Digital Researcher seeks knowledge as part of a systematic investigation with the specific intent of publishing research findings in an online open access journal.  The intent is also to acquire research knowledge exclusively from the Web while also using the Web to inform further research and knowledge mobilization.  Although this research can be both quantitative and qualitative it does not necessarily follow strict internet research ethics using the formal scientific method as it involves collaboration using social media with public input to inform research and knowledge mobilization. There are a number of objections to this stance, which are all relevant to Wikipedia research.[1] [4] and research ethics.[1] The usual view is that private and public spaces become blurred on the Internet.[2] [3].

Research may also be formally published in academia through peer-reviewed journals or through the further use of social media. Digital researchers are involved with Basic research or Applied research using data analysis software such as SPSS or JMP.

The term Digital Research was originally used to describe a now defunct company created by Dr. Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related products. It was the first large software company in the microcomputer world.

In my earlier blog my definition was shorter, but was expanded in the Wikipedia definition for greater reference-linking and understanding. It’s my hope that other Digital Researchers or anyone wishing to provide input will contact me and contribute to improving or further informing the credibility of this Digital Researcher definition. Please also feel free to contribute to the Wikipedia definition. I look forward to hearing your views. Thanks.

Free Knowledge Mobilization with a Social Media Strategy

My grandmother always said, “give a little for free and you’ll get alot in return beyond yourself.”

I volunteered at a number of places throughout my life, thinking about “good karma” or giving  back to worthy causes. Yet, what started out as a volunteer position at York University’s  Knowledge Mobilization Unit is starting to turn into an aspiring career choice. In 2007 an offer to work (gratis) contributing to ResearchImpact created an opportunity to combine my interests in research, social media, human behaviour and the use of knowledge – in the multi-abbreviated world of KMb, KT, KE or KTE (your choice).

Coming from a fresh degree in Psychology, and work on a research project investigating the practical use of research findings within York’s Department of Psycholgy helped convince York’s Manager of Knowledge Mobilization, Michael Johnny,  to take me on. And (“bah-rump-bum-bum-bah” – sing the jingle if you want), I’m loving it. (I hope you got that free pop-culture reference, and  I won’t have to pay for infringing any copyright laws).

In a way (as Angie Hart would say about knowledge brokers who make connections), I am a “boundary-spanner” in my efforts to combine university research within the community of social media. I work (volunteer) for a university while also being immersed within community as an upaid Digital Researcher (I’m still waiting for any job offers!). My efforts present what is at the heart of knowledge mobilization – multidisciplinary collaboration between university and community-based research, and a contributional exchange of experience, skills and interests from both those inside and outside of academia.

Digital technology is ubiquitous. Researchers and brokers who are savy in recognizing the significance of using social media as part of a knowledge mobilization strategy are forging new paths of academic openness and community collaboration.  I feel privileged to be part of a KMb team using a digital strategy in ways such as thisthis, this and this. I’ve seen first hand how adopting readily available digital tools like Google Earth or Twitter are valuable.  They can be used for something as easy as visualizing patterns of brokering projects/KMb networks to informing and exchanging knowledge via microblogging.  Such social media research tools are changing the expediency and way we think about how research is pursued and collaborated. Research must be inclusive of the benefits and ever-present influence of digital media in our every-day lives to inform future research practices.

I enjoy the opportunities that come with engaging and working with other knowledge mobilizers across Canada and internationally – especialy by means of social media. Don’t get me wrong;  I like face-to-face communication and recognize its necessity, but I’m eager to spread the word about doing research using social media and including social media.

Yes, there are necessary costs to research; grant applications need to be done and not many researchers are willing put in volunteer time. But, it’s important to make use of the current “freebie” elements of digital technology as a vehicle for knowledge mobilization – at no cost. Incorporating a social media strategy in research projects enhances research. It provides a more expedient means of communicating findings over a wider audience – and in turn – is informed by the social media audience contributing to further research and connections.

Grandma isn’t around to know how far digital technology has evolved and shapes our lives today, but the message is still the same…give a little (knowledge mobilization) for free (using social media) and you’ll get alot in return beyond yourself.