Apr 4, 2009

Why Wiki?

Geek Test No. 9
Can a true internet geek remember where they were the first time they saw the World Wide Web? Well, maybe only old geeks like me who lived for decades without hyperlinked documents.

For me, the World Wide Web was something to dive into but it was like diving into ice cold water. I quickly started experimenting with ways to let multiple people contribute HTML documents to the same website. When I finally saw wiki technology in action I did not at first understand what I was seeing, but once I caught on I wished I had found it sooner.

Of course, there is two ton elephant in the wiki world called Wikipedia. I suppose most people think that "wiki" means Wikipedia and that Wikipedia means, "Ya, I go there to use the free encyclopedia." But wiki technology can be used for all types of collaborative efforts.

"Let’s face it, the act of writing is a solitary activity"

I saw this statement (above) about writing at Topic Turtle. Does writing have to be a solitary activity? Can our internet technologies like wiki, chat and blogging change writing into a social activity? I fear that we have a huge problem with cultural momentum that prevents people from participating in collaborative writing.

Authors have the feeling that they own their words. "This is MY work." But surely there is a place in this world for words and stories and ideas that are freely shared with others. When I was about 12 I discovered the joy of collaborative writing. We'd sit is study hall and pass pieces of paper around with growing stories on them, each person adding a few lines and then passing it on. Wiki technology allows us to do that on the internet. I invite everyone to give it a try. It is a great way to have fun and learn.

Image. The image (above) depicts a nanorobotic colony from the story VirileMail. This image is licensed under the GFDL.

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