This project studies social knowledge management as practiced by individuals like myself who develop their blogs and their connections with others in the blogosphere on their own, organically, independent of the direction or boundaries of any specific organization. Still, it is possible that the lessons I can draw from my experiences and those of other independent bloggers may have implications for businesses, non-profits, and government agencies that might seek to use blogs for knowledge management. In this chapter, I’ll consider what organizational bloggers may learn from the members of the South Dakota blogosphere.

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I was thinking about Reimagine Rural when a negative thought hit me: maybe individuals can’t do social knowledge management. Maybe real social knowledge management requires managers, and maybe we can only find managers in organizations. Powers, Ehrisman, and I aren’t managers: much of the time, we’re smart-alecks, boxers, and jokers. We don’t work very hard at organizing information. A lot of our work is fire-and-forget. Meanwhile, Mike Knutson is trying to assemble a coherent, lasting body of knowledge for the benefit of much more than his own organization. Reimagine Rural also couples its online efforts with offline efforts… or perhaps it is more accurate to say its online efforts serve as a publicity supplement to its offline efforts. Online and off, Reimagine Rural is the most deliberate manifestation of social knowledge management in South Dakota. The loose collections of individuals with shared interests and blogrolls do not currently match this one organization in its efforts to capture and organize knowledge of social benefit.

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