Data finds data

Jon Udell recently blogged about the way in which he ‘connected’ paths with a number of people or introduced acquaintances via blogging / publishing and bookmark sharing. One of the Important Takeway’sTM is that tagging, blogging and social bookmarking tools are a great way of saying, in a (hopefully) machine readable format, “what I’m thinking about” and “what I’m an expert in“.

At Jive Software, working on the Clearspace team, we’ve tried to make it easy to find experts, going so far as to add some really novel expertise searching and profiling. You can do a search for a person using a keyword and any number of profile fields against a specific space or community to find someone who might know the answer to the problem you’re facing. And that’s useful but I think the real value is going to come from the kind of thing that Jon mentions in his story: I’ll call it non-directed expert search. Imagine for a moment a giant faceless corporation with tall walls between departments: Don from the Widget team blogs about replicated and distributed data management on a regular basis. He’s busy (he just had another kid and doesn’t have time to go looking for experts in his field) but because he’s blogging and tagging in his regular course of work, Scott from the FooBar team might subscribe to a tag feed like ‘caching’ or ‘reliability’ and he’ll catch one of Don’s blog posts. And just by making it really easy to publish blog posts and bookmarks and by making said blog posts and bookmarks searchable, taggable, and syndicated, your employees and community members can connect without having to search for an expert, the experts present themselves, said using a quote from the aforementioned blog post:

…Data tends to finds data. And when it does, people find each other.

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