Social Software – Knowledge is key.

There are numerous social software models out there for organisations to use, all ready to assist in making the decisions that save time and money, as well as supporting overall objectives and goals. But which one should you use? In this blog we’ll discuss the 4 C’s and the importance of knowledge management, for both the organization and the individual.

Lets begin with the 4 C’s

  • communication-1015376_960_720Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Collaboration
  • Connection

The 4 C’s was created in order to simplify social software – in short, where should a company point its resources in terms of its social software. Should it spend more money on connection software or collaboration software? Well, it depends what sort of company you are.

The sort of company you are depends on your culture, culture in this respect is defined as a mix of formality and interaction. So once you have decided if you want to adopt a formal culture, or a more interactive one you can begin using the 4 C’s to help make the decisions that are best for the organization as a whole.

Cook was the creator of the 4 C’s (this version at least, there are a few other versions too), this model focuses on the individual functions of social software rather than other components and characteristics. In short, the 4 C’s are there to aid organisations in identifying their preferred social software guidelines.

Before we go any further, lets clarify the 4 C’s, and check out the 4 C’s matrix. As you can see, very formal cultures would likely use collaboration for their social software, where less formal cultures may use cooperation instead.



This includes all types of communication within the workplace, be it by email, text or voice, the casual nature of communication between employees and general day to day office chat results in communication being typically a less formal function.


The cooperation function supports informal working where there are no pre-defined goals. Information is shared as needed, and almost always relies on a network of information in order to deliver maximum value to the organization as well as the individual.


The focus of collaboration is on the process and how the end result is reached, not the end result itself. Collaboration tools are used to encourage people to collaborate with each other on problems, directly or indirectly and are typically used in a formal culture.


Communication is a key element of connection, allowing connections to be made through tagging, RSS and search functions, created by multiple individuals and even across different systems. Connection tools rely as much on connecting employees with the leaders, as well as other employees.


Here’s another map to help getting to grips with where certain functions may sit, its easy to now see the difference between the formal function and the less formal functions, the highly interactive and less interactive functions.

What about KNOWLEDGE?

Knowledge, simply put, is the key to success. Organizations and people run on the knowledge they retain, store and transfer, hence why knowledge management is so important for organisations and individuals.


What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management is exactly what is sounds like, a system that manages the knowledge from within an organization. Knowledge management systems are typically centralized systems of knowledge built up throughout an organization, more commonly using a top down approach. Information is gathered, stored, and made available and accessible to those who need it.

Imagine if you could have all of your employees information too? How this could this benefit your organization?

Well you can, if they are willing to give it up of course.

Personal knowledge networks

Personal knowledge networks are a little more tricky to define, but put as simply as possible – It is generally a bottom up approach where the knowledge stored by each individual gained from first-hand experience or observation of a situation, is inputted into networks readily available for others to use.

network-1020332_960_720These networks combine individual skills and knowledge in pursuit of personal and organizational goals. The information is shared, developed and evolved, allowing information to be passed in real time to people that you may never be able to connect with in person.

It could be referred to as an individual approach to knowledge management, rather than a corporate one. However, the knowledge can still be stored within an organization – in fact, it’s not uncommon for knowledge management systems to include personal knowledge networks where employees can find and learn information through a series of tagging and search functions, providing benefit to both employer and employee.

Personal knowledge is also important for the individuals self-progression. Some knowledge may be appealing to potential employers, perhaps to create a competitive advantage. However, the organization is not the only one to gain the advantage, the individual could benefit just as much in terms in career progression.

Read here an article about how to improve your own personal knowledge management.

So whether its the 4C’s, Knowledge Management or Personal Knowledge Networks, one thing is clear, knowledge is KEY for both organisations and individuals.


Images have been obtained from Pixabay, and are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.


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