Getting up to speed on wikis, part 3

There continues to be great dialog on wikis in the mix of knowledge work in organizations. Ross Mayfield, of socialtext, has an excellent summary post on Group Voice that makes a good point to pick up this thread.

Its not a choice between one or another. The temporal structure of weblogs and logical structure of wikis are a complement for lasting effects. One of the more powerful patterns in an organization is how an opportunity is published in blog, possibilities are swarmed upon in blog conversation and then driven to consensus and outcome in a wikified document. After the outcome, the knowledge and its social context remains.

Both tools together create powerful effects for publishing, communication and collaboration.

Denham Gray calls attention to the key differentiating aspects of wikis in a comment he posted. His key distinctions:

  • The power to contribute BOTH to content and structure – other genres require you post within a predetermined structure (blogs, bulletin boards, guestbooks, IM….)
  • True equality – blogs have an implicit posting hierarchy – some get main board status, the rest are relegated to buried comments (if allowed)
  • Collaborative writing at the most fundamental (text) level – this is very different from annotation, editorial commentary or letters to the editor!
  • Open edit – you can change anything at anytime – no attributation, notime/ date stamps in wiki- just pure flow

Stuart Henshall recommends a look at NexistWiki and also offers several interesting reports on the use of wikis in working sessions (see The One Hour Wiki). Doug Holton at Ed Tech Dev offers a pointer to Tiki (and other CMS tools) for Teaching. One curious thing I’ve noticed is that wikis appear to be very popular in the Smalltalk/Squeak community. Here’s one directory, for example, of Smalltalk Wiki Webs.

Next steps for me will be to begin frequenting a few wikis, installing a wiki somewhere I can play with, and looking for appropriate group opportunities where I can apply wikis. As if I had spare time I was desparate to fill :).

(part 1 and part 2 of my original posts on wikis)