The Importance of @mentions for Knowledge Sharing

Today’s worker is living in a fast-paced world. They have an account on at least three social media networks and are using two to three messaging apps on a daily basis, along with their e-mail, Skype, and telephone. They are used to information being sent out and shared instantaneously, and they are expecting a quick reaction. 

Major messaging apps have recognised this need and have introduced a “delivered” status when the message is delivered, a “seen” status when the recipient sees the message, the time the person was last online, and even information on how fast they reply to messages. 

On Social Media networks, information is shared with an audience of more than one person, and today’s user is expecting to be able to bring attention to the information by @mentioning relevant people or tagging, in order to speed up the process of receiving feedback and giving context to the information they’re sharing.

These new expectations, shaped by social media usage, are changing the knowledge sharing process as well.

Where do Knowledge Sharing and Social Media overlap?

The new behaviours that consumer web technologies are encouraging and supporting are: creating communities, sharing information and ideas openly and transparently, and collaborating. The communication patterns “digital natives” have already embraced and various social technology tools are influencing these new behaviours.

What does this mean? 

This means that knowledge sharing software needs to enable collaboration in a way people are used to, by implementing and building on appropriate features and practices from consumer web technologies, particularly from Social Media.

One of those features is being able to easily @mention people. Some others may include messaging, being able to easily tag information and share it across instances.

The Difference between a Social Media Network and a Knowledge Sharing Network

Whether it’s a closed, enterprise knowledge sharing network, or an open knowledge sharing network with people gathered around a cause (for example, The Water Network), the difference needs to be clear in order to avoid mixed behaviour.

On a Knowledge Sharing Network, likes become votes, tagging is guided by taxonomy and chats are replaced with messages. Focus is placed on the expertise and the value of knowledge you share and your level of experience, not on personal information (married, single etc.). 

User profiles are designed to showcase this focus and users are enticed to build them up by contributing. 

Features are also carefully chosen: questions and discussions for discovering new information and blogs and posts for sharing them. 

Groups and communities are created quickly and can be configured to fit a purpose. 

Adopting a new software has a lot to do with the software itself and the way it is integrated with the behaviour of your employees. Being able to mention a specific person while asking a question is something we at TallyFox believe to be important for professionals, and even though our proprietary algorithm Smart Match ProTM will notify an expert relevant to this question, we have decided to enrich our software with this feature in order to further facilitate the knowledge sharing process.

How do @mentions deliver value?

The usage of a new software has a lot to do with the software itself and the way it is integrated with the behaviour of your employees. @mentions are a legacy of Social Media and are a pattern well known to the platform user, regardless of their age.

With this new feature, program managers are able to bring attention to strategic information they post in order to receive real-time feedback. This way they are certain that relevant users are notified and they do not need to send out additional e-mails in order to be sure. They can relax and do their work on the platform. 

As they are also the ones who review activity feed on a regular basis, they can easily @mention members and bring their attention to a discussion, for example, to encourage their contribution.

On the other hand, domain experts or any other members, as the use of this feature is intuitive, are able to @mention users to bring about their attention to an answer, or information they might feel useful instead of duplicating it. It saves a lot of time. 

I’m sure you can see that the uses here are numerous, depending on the use case of the platform itself, but they all arrive at one common goal, decrease the number of e-mails sent and increased engagement.

And that is the real value of a simple feature.

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