Social & Cooperation

Wiki Magic, Wiki Panic

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2008 ……


Why magic or panic? Because people react strongly to wikis.

People either love or hate the Wikipedia. Teachers either forbid it for research or encourage their students to contribute to it. “It is forbidden to use the Wikipedia to research your subject.” “Your assignment this month is to contribute to an article in the Wikipedia.”

People either believe that collective knowledge is superior to individual knowledge, or that the expert’s knowledge is superior. (Question: what makes someone an “expert”…??)

Wikis scare corporate communicators. They have doubts about the accuracy of content that can be written by “anyone”. They are uncomfortable because they can’t control the content – the what, why and when of things.

Wikis also scare some intranet managers: “We”ll end up with a huge mass of dis-organised content.”

Some become very enthusiastic: “At last a way to make the intranet user-centric.”

So are you in the Wiki Magic or the Wiki Panic mode?