The Power of Social Networking: Knowledge Brokers Broker Knowledge about Knowledge Brokers

Peter WestPeter West uses the name WestPeter on Twitter. According to his Twitter profile he lives in London, ON and is interested in “scholarly articles, books & proceedings of interest to knowledge workers.” On July 1 he posted the following:

WestPeter Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems & settings (Environ Sci & Pol) #KM $ is a shortened url that takes you to the following url:

Sarah Michaels… which is why we use shortened urls but that’s not the purpose of this blog… this url is an abstract of a paper from Sarah Michaels (U. Nebraska) titled “Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems and settings”. Only the abstract was available so I contacted Sarah who was kind enough to send me the pre-print (thank you Sarah). Two things are important here:

1. There is a whole body of literature on knowledge brokering for environmental policy that I never knew about. I have never heard of the scholars (except Lindquist) listed in her references yet it appears that knowledge brokering for environmental policy aligns well (see table below) with those of us who inform our practice using a health frame of reference. ResearchImpact draws its knowledge brokering practice mainly from Lavis et al [Journal of Health Services Research and Policy (2003) 8(3):165] using the producer push, user pull and knowledge exchange methods plus our description of co-production [Evidence & Policy (2009) 5(3):211]. But Sarah introduces us to a new term – capacity building: “intensive knowledge brokering is about creating and sustaining capacity for innovation”.

Michaels vs Phipps & Shapson

It is nice yet surprising to see a whole body of literature that has arisen independently but consistently with our practice and yet to learn something new.  I wonder if Sarah is aware of the work we draw from: Lavis, Landry, Estabrooks, Grimshaw, Nutley, Levin…

2. The second important observation is I found this on Twitter.  Sarah published her paper, WestPeter found it, tweeted, and because ResearchImpact follows WestPeter I saw the tweet, got the link, e-mailed Sarah, read the paper and now you’re reading the blog and maybe you will read her paper.  That is the power of social networking.  Sarah’s paper found a wider audience, I read some new literature and I “met” a like minded colleague – all thanks to less than 140 characters.

Unlike how it markets itself, Twitter should be “what do you want to share” not “what are you doing”!

Go on… log on to Twitter and connect to lasting value in less than 140 characters.

5 Responses to “The Power of Social Networking: Knowledge Brokers Broker Knowledge about Knowledge Brokers”

written by Antique Cabinets On 13 July 2009 Reply

I think i have seen the same greater exposition of my articles using twitter,and people are more likely to post comments when they know who the blog belong to.

written by Shawna Reibling On 13 July 2009 Reply

I experience this same thing and really appreciate twitter to lead me to the larger community of Knowledge Mobilization practitioners.

written by Gary Myers LifeBalance Consulting On 13 July 2009 Reply

Great observation of the power of social networking David. I find using Twitter has been of great value to my practice, and meeting like-minded individuals to share ideas, knowledge, and experience with.

Perhaps the Twitter Administration might take your suggestion about changing “what are you doing?” to “what do you have to share” to be much more inclusive and accurate of what is actually happening on Twitter.

Thanks for the great blog!

[…] and humanitarian issues) and it reminded me of two blogs I had previously posted. In my blog about Sarah Michael’s work on knowledge mobilization for environmental policy and in an unrelated post, I wrote about how we need to use evidence to inform our own KM services. […]

[…] (almost one year ago)?  Like other faithful readers of Mobilize This! You were likely reading our story on the work of Sarah Michaels where we reflected on the convergent evolution of knowledge brokering in environmental policy and […]

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