Wikis, work, and worth

George Siemens, writing about wikis, pointed to a Business Week article from last year. BW’s Rachael King notes both successes of, and impediments to, adoption of wikis at work.

Musing about situations where a wiki or some other tool could produce results, I thought about what might impede ordinary people (as opposed to, say, open-source zealots) from putting them to use. Most folks don’t know much about wikis, of course.

If they do, they know Wikipedia. That’s not always a good thing. Once, looking up the Scottish poet Robert Burns, I found more than a third of the entry devoted to… Burns’ membership in the Masons.

It’s like something Garrison Keillor said once about the radio news program All Things Considered — it’s terrific, unless you want to know right now what happened. Then you get a six-minute word portrait of loggers in Montana who are planning a festival of Shakespeare’s history plays.

Tom Gilbert defined worth as value divided by cost. He was a vigorous advocate of tools to increase performance. So I took a shot at ways Gilbert might have suggested measuring the quality of social software like a wiki.

Take a look (click this image, then click the next one that appears):


(The “website” was done in Comic Life, but don’t blame just me.)

“Cover photo” by Les Chatfield.