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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Wiki Way

Socialtext is one of the best-known commercial wiki packages, have tested it here a number of times. Its a very good wiki implementation. Now Ross Mayfield has announced Socialpoint, or Socialtext running on Sharepoint. He positions this as useful, even though Sharepoint is coming out with its own wikis in 07. More commentary on the idea here. Not quite sure what this means, the Socialtext wiki claims to be the most successful commercial implementation out there. We have also experimented with some open source tools (Socialtext has also gone this way. My conversations with Ross indicates he is working with several companies to instill a wiki culture. Yet there are only a few real successes to talk. The wiki culture is not here or there as yet. Will there ever be, as Ross calls it, a wiki way?

Also in wiki news, Google acquired Jotspot, which we also tested a few summers ago, moderately surprising.

One experiment we talked is the construction of an analog of the Wikipedia within the corporation. Many companies, and certainly large ones have acronyms, terms, definitions, etc that are sometimes the same, and sometimes differ from public versions. He proposed setting up a 'CorporatePedia' that would organically grow as people added definitions.

One of the unsurprising experiences we have had with this is that its hard to get people to contribute. The same people with interest in blogs usually engage, but those who have the knowledge to contribute are hard to bring to the table. Of course the same thing happened in the early days of e-mail. Today there are no rewards for participating, and no 'editors' have yet emerged.

I am still excited about the prospect of managing knowledge by a broadly editable space and do my best to proselytize. Ideas and examples are welcome.


William Anderson said...

we've seen the implementation of wikis and contribution to wikis happen in a number of ways. in fact, we recently posted a blog about this exact thing. the one thing we've heard a number of times is that people just start using it and referencing it - before they know it, others are asking them for access to a particular page/space.

i tend to think the reward for using the wiki is empowerment. seeing edits made to your page/space or contributing your thoughts and ideas directly to a colleague's page (for everyone to see) is a powerful thing.

another post that may be of help is one about the best way to set up a wiki. education and design/structure of a wiki needs to be in place before releasing it to your users - it needs to fit within your organizations "way of life" as seamlessly as possible.

hope these help!

Franz Dill said...

Thanks for your pointer to the blog about the implementation of wikis. Will review and pass along to my audience. Agree that it is powerful to see your own contributions directly, just getting people to that point is sometimes the challnge.