YouTube a KM Platform?? Are you out of your mind? Thats probably the first reaction you had when you read the title of this post. Honestly? I dont blame you, I was having the same thoughts a while ago, but then as you know when an idea takes hold it takes a while to shake off.

So I asked myself this very simple question, What makes a good KM platform? and then started listing the points down one by one. This is what i’ve come up with so far ( this is a very basic list, so bear with me) .

  1. Communities of Practice
  2. Expertise Map
  3. Great Search feature
  4. Collaboration
  5. Information Repositories

The whole idea behind institutionalizing KM anywhere is to for people to get to the right information at the right time. While there are hundreds of applications out there ( open source and otherwise ) the fundamental success factor for any KM initiative is to establish a self sustaining knowledge sharing culture that uses the platform to facilitate collaboration. Something YouTube has excelled at, now whether this fits your corporates definition of a KM tool is question that we shall tackle on another day.

Right, back to the question at hand. Analyzing what YouTube has to offer gives us a pretty good insight on how the knowledge ( headbanging teens and American idol wannabes ) is stored and structured. Here you can get to any information using a category tab, a great way to structure your information. Tags are another huge feature here which makes structuring and subsequently locating information a lot simpler.

Channels allow you to subscribe to your favourite information sources and receive a steady stream of information without searching for it. Finally and most importantly a Community section which gets people of similar interest together to discuss about information / interests that they have in common.

As with any self respecting KM tool the option to rate information is a must, YouTube accomplishes that with aplomb. Users are allowed to rate videos, post comments and so on enabling the “weeding” out of less desirable content.

Information like which are the most viewed videos, favourited videos and such add as a bonus to the information seeker as it gives him/ her the opportunity to feel the pulse ( so to speak ) of the community.

Statistics on how many videos were viewed /submitted by individual users can be pulled up very easily enabling ( further down the line ) a creation of an “expertise map”.