Could an amateur chef become a MasterChef with social media? Transforming knowledge to information
I wouldn’t really call it a debate because all 4 speakers were in general agreement. They all agreed tacit knowledge CANNOT be converted into explicit knowledge. However, they did agree social media tools are by far the best tools out there to transfer knowledge.
Just a quick background on the differences between explicit and tacit knowledge, as defined by Wikipedia.
Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others e.g. documents.
Tacit knowledge on the other hand is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalising it.
I thought of a simple example of this the other day while watching the TV show MasterChef.
Can an amateur chef (you and me) read a recipe written by a master chef, cook the dish following every instruction perfectly, and produce a meal that tastes just as good as that prepared by the master chef?
Probably not. The amateur chef doesn’t have the same level of skills or training the trained chef has acquired with years of experience. Of course this doesn’t stop the TV show portraying exactly the opposite!
But that in itself is the interesting part because it is now easier than ever to convey knowledge in a more collaborative and personalised manner using social media. It is now easier than ever to learn.
Let’s go back to the MasterChef example. If the recipe is recorded via video instead of in writing, the amateur chef is able to imitate the master chef. The visual aid is an improved technique for conveying knowledge. It gives you an insight into the emotion and passion the master has while preparing the dish, and enables you to see the techniques he uses.
Let’s take this a step further and assume the video has an online forum allowing amateur chefs to communicate withthe master or with each other. This engagement is a tremendous advantage for the amateurs allowing them to communicate experiences about things that went wrong, allowing them to improve.
Now you can see that although the master chef’s tacit knowledge cannot be converted into explicit knowledge, social media has improved the learning process substantially.
Social media can assist the transfer of knowledge in a number of ways:
- Social media tools give us greater visibility of the experiences of a much larger number of people
- Social media tools enable us to deal with complex problems more effectively
- Large organizations can transfer knowledge more effectively using social media tools
- Social media tools can be personalised encouraging people to stay more engaged in conversations
- Crowd sourcing via social media is an extremely effective way of surfacing knowledge