Week 4: Wikis and Other Collaborative Tools

WOW! I made my first contribution to Wikipedia. I have to say, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be! I added the name of an artist who previously performed Bonnaroo Music Festival. See Lil Wayne? Ya I put that there. I decided to do this because I know that it is not false information as I saw Lil Wayne perform at Bonnaroo in June 2011. I didn’t want to run the risk of tampering with something that I knew very little about. As much as Wikipedia is an non-academic source, people rely on it for information so I wanted to make sure I was being accurate. That contribution to the page gave me a bit of a thrill.

When contributing to Wikipedia, I was surprised to see that it is actually laid out like a blog. Making a post and adding a link to something you post looked almost the exact same as the Wiki Diane set up for our class mixed with this blog on wordpress. It was very easy to figure out. I am so happy that I am learning about how these information tools that I use so regularly work. I am finding all of this so valuable.

I edited the page on the class Wiki and I uploaded a photo in the Photos folder as well. Both of those things were very straight forward. I am having a bit of a hard time understanding why Wikis are so useful as a communication medium within an organization. I see why it would be valuable for multiple posts – almost like a chat room or forum for discussion. But I don’t really see how it would be beneficial just using page edits, unless you are asking someone to edit a piece of writing. I added a new page to the Wiki just to see what happens. From what I gather, people need to continue to check the Pages screen to see if any new pages have been created. I originally thought Wikis were sort of laid out like a blog – With all the posts available on one page. But I am beginning to get more familiar the more I play around and I am seeing that a Wiki is almost like a platform to store multiple shared documents that everyone can contribute to, like Wikipedia. Just multiple pages that you can navigate through.

I can see why Diane struggled with starting a Wiki in her former place of employment. I feel like getting used to a Wiki is like switching over from a PC computer to a MAC. MACs are actually a lot easier to use once you get used to them and function better overall, but the initial change is a bit of a shock and hard to get used to. I can imagine that it would take a long time for everyone in an office to get used to using a Wiki and out of the habit of using e-mail. It may also take a while for people to get fully comfortable with the way that a Wiki works. However, I also see how the use of a Wiki in a workplace is more practical than using e-mail because it can keep everyone involved and allows everyone to contribute. Posting something to a Wiki is much more efficient than sending a mass e-mail, having each receiver of the e-mail make changes or contributions to the ideas circulated, and then having them send back to the original sender or to all receivers of the initial message. One person would have to compile all changes/suggestions. On a Wiki, everyone can contribute and the end result will definitely be better.

Following up from last week – I could not figure out a way to receive e-mail updates from my RSS feed.

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About anameth3852

third year MIT student at UWO
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