A Knowledge Production Media

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
31 July, 2018
Editorial: 223
Fecha de publicación original: 11 julio, 2000

Nobody can see what you know, but everyone can see what you do

Since its foundation in 1996, en.red.ando has defined itself as a magazine dedicated to reflecting on the changes brought about by the Internet. For a good deal of this time, our task has been shared with a large group of contributors who have sent in their analyses from their respective corners of cyberspace. Together we have shaped a media whose vocation is to evolve hand in hand with the Net and its inhabitants. At the same time, based on own experience, and that of others, as well as requests of one kind or the other from our readers, we have proposed ways of organising digital communication flows for the creation of collective work areas where intelligence distributed on the Net could take on a greater significance and offer concrete results. Today, through this media we reflect on what is happening, generate knowledge and develop systems to help organisations –- of all kinds — to operate in accordance with the criteria and specific needs of the Information Society.

From being a web magazine we have become a medium for the production and management of knowledge. This is the inevitable result of becoming a true digital media in which digital communication implies the participation of individuals and organisations, relationships between them and the growth of information systems developed as a result of these contributions. This evolution reflects changes undergone within the company itself. The development of content generation and knowledge management systems such as en.medi@ has involved considerable internal adaptation. The mere job of journalist became insufficient for understanding through analysis and reflection, no matter how solid, the magnitude of the changes being brought about by the Internet. Managing spaces to which more than a thousand people contributed articles of a great variety, both in subject and quality, has gradually turned us into knowledge managers.

As Net connections have increased and made access to distributed intelligence easier, with all the advantages and drawbacks this entails in open networks, we at en.red.ando have been designing specific contexts in which shared intelligence could have concrete significance for users. In doing this, we have learned to raise the standard of contributions, underpinning them with documentation that has become richer and more diverse all the time while also taking advantage of the enormous opportunities for sharing knowledge, experience and objectives, that the Net affords. These are the things that, in our opinion, form the foundation for allowing individuals and organisations to operate as informational entities specifically adapted to the needs of the Information Society. And they also form the fundamental framework for producing the basic goods of the so-called New Economy: online information and knowledge.

We are going through a particularly rich and fertile period at the moment. Together with the knowledge managers (many of them from the world of communication and on a rapid learning curve) and the consulting experts preparing companies that are going to incorporate en.medi@ as their knowledge management system, we are creating new information and knowledge products on the basis of participation and relationships established with the users of these spaces. It is what we call the information systems’ growth phase.

For instance, in the “Tema a tema” (Subject to Subject) section we have currently started to publish the results of a year and a half’s work in en.red.ando’s en.medi@, devoted to debates about “New Media in the Information Society”. In total, we have put together thirty subjects, each one containing enough material to be published in book form. A unique book because it has been written by many hands and combines experiences and knowledge that it would be difficult to find by one author. Moreover, the subjects under discussion are not just limited to the content of the debate in en.medi@ itself, there are resources, documents, research, the conclusions from congresses and other events, book reviews on related subjects etc., and other contributions as well. From a specific kind of online journalism aimed at examining the impact of the Internet and digital communication on daily life, we have gone on to fulfil the needs of particular groups and organisations united within contexts for collaboration and exchange on the Net. This is part of the giant step I mentioned from communications media to knowledge production media.

It seems to us that this represents the natural evolution of one way of understanding communication in the networked world, which does not, however, mean that it is not a difficult and complicated process. If the Internet allows us to personalise our needs, this should generate a supply of specific knowledge as well. In order for this to happen we need to design a virtual context that allows for participation that makes these demands explicit, facilitates exchange between users who wish to satisfy them and encourages the growth of information and knowledge generated by this exchange. And this is a new kind of job which cannot be automated either. What we are dealing with here is online knowledge and it cannot be managed except via “neuron to neuron” contact, in other words, via the direct intervention of teams that are highly specialised at functioning in these contexts. Teams that we call “online intelligence nodes”. The opposite of this –the automation or the series of routines for “knowledge management”– does not go beyond mere document management.

The other aspect of this change is that it is reflected more and more in the content of the magazine itself. Online work in spaces such as en.medi@, or, in fact, just the preparatory work for adapting these spaces to the needs of the organisations that we are dealing with, is an incredibly enriching experience that we should be capable of converting into material for reflection and knowledge to be transmitted in turn to our readers. Our consultants are in a particularly privileged position for analysing the difficulties and opportunities of those organisations prepared to adopt informational methodology, either for decision making, for incorporating the knowledge of their work force into their online strategies or for defining these strategies by placing their resources in participative online environments.

This consulting work and the development of spaces like en.medi@, as well as the work of the knowledge managers –the “online intelligence nodes” — that moderate spaces already in operation, (en.medi@, en.jornad@, etc.), will offer us the opportunity to develop material for the analysis of the Net, knowledge products that will encapsulate part of our vision about the changes brought about by the Internet and that we try to keep our readers in touch with. Moreover, this will empower our “genetic code” in relation to publishing only articles elaborated by us, instead of increasing the redundancy of material that plagues the Net. As far as knowledge production is concerned, this aspect of the content of en.red.ando will be noticeably reinforced over the months to come. It will, at the same time, highlight the changes that the Internet is undergoing and, specifically, in our company via new products oriented towards digital communication, the generation and management of online knowledge and the creation of advanced participation spaces in the heart of organisations in order for them to take full advantage of the intelligence and experience of their members.

This will bring us closer to what we consider a “new media” in the Information Society era should be. A kind of organisation that is highly complex on a business level, on the one hand, and which has very specific requirements as far as the knowledge and experience of its workforce is concerned, on the other, in order to act within and outside the networks.

Translation: Bridget King