Monday, 30 April 2007

wikis and blogs

What do you think about the comparative merits of wikis and blogs? The wiki is essentially something like a multi-author fluid knowledge-base or electronic encyclopaedia to which any responsible person can contribute and augment a pool of knowledge. A blog is inherently single-author or selective authorship, ostensibly by the owning few who also mediate feedback posted on the site. I could see wikis having a usefulness for education and young audiences if its accuracy is sieved. If the agenda is to build audiences and participation, a context enticing shared authorship and communal engagement may encourage that.

4 comments:

mel said...

Kirsty - i am still having trouble seeing the difference between the two, apart from the level of control or moderation that is possible. Is this the essential difference? Both seem to have the potential for a pretty free exchange of ideas eg fresh and new, and can have multiple contributors. Are there other differences? And can one assume that the authors of a wiki are responsible contributors, more so than a blog?

Kirsty Komuso said...

I think the degree of control, moderation and expertise of authorship might be a difference. Many programs and collaborative softwares automatically generate wiki pages. Wiki pages can be edited by absolutely anyone and in that sense are potentially erroneous but very powerful as a net of hyper-linked subjects and as a file system for linking to related keywords and text-sorting. Blogs can be shared but also have options of single authorship and non-comment thus giving higher control. Then the quality is strictly to do with the expertise and opinion of the author. When you set up the blog, as you know, you choose to allow feedback or not and whether you want to moderate it or not. I am a secret control freak so I have never been a wiki fan but communally-minded people love them and recently I have had reason to generate wiki pages about a project. I guess it opens up a new domain that is much more searchable and likely to be found by others looking for a specific topic. Blogs were always intended, I think, to be more personal, informal or annecdotal whereas most wiki pages portend to be informational foremost.

Kirsty Komuso said...

Also a wiki page is intended to be a single page/screen collectively updated, edited, improved. A blog is a sequential conversation with track-bacl options, visibly retaining the trail of evolution and dialogue. A wiki is like the current state of a document, presented as a document. A blog is like a history of contributions that must be trawled through for information.

In terms of relating to your audience research, they probably serve different purposes.

LyndaK said...

Thanks Kirsty - this is useful. There are some good definitions of Web 2.0 at the social media website - the short list of terms is incredibly helpful.

Some quotes:
"Blogs are websites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items – sometimes called posts - may have keyword tags associated with them, are usually available as feeds, and often allow commenting."

and

"A wiki is a web page - or set of pages - that can be edited collaboratively. The best known example is wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands of contributors across the world. Once people have appropriate permissions - set by the wiki owner - they can create pages and/or add to and alter existing pages."

There is more detail on the longer list if you're feeling brave!