Skip to content

Social Media Portal

SMP » About

Wikis

Social Media Portal Landscape - Wikis



Background

A wiki is a collaborate website that allows users to create and edit pages and content using a standard web browser.  It is a tool essentially for sharing knowledge and information.

The first wiki was created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham, an American computer programmer.  His WikiWikiWeb was added to his consultancy website, and has since authored a book entitled The Wiki Web. 

What

A wiki is effectively a content management system (CMS), the technology that allows non-technical users to manage the content on their website.  It pools together users to create a community led resource; effectively becoming the sum of its parts.

Initially wikis began as a tool for technical users to communicate and share knowledge and best practice. Today, they are used for the same purpose; however the audience is anyone and everyone that uses the internet, from students, to groups, to organisations and individuals. 

Generally, there is no review period between when a wiki gets updated and when it is made live and commonly they are open to the general public to update without registration.  This has led to some quite high profiled abuse of the system as people, organisations and/or representatives were adding and editing information they had a vested interest in.  This leads the wiki community to question the validity of the information and most commonly if this is traced it is removed immediately for not being objective.

Registering accounts within a wiki community is encouraged, as it creates a “wiki signature” to enable updates made to be open and transparent.  With private wiki’s, registration is required to edit and often to read.

How

A wiki can be updated using mark-up language through a standard web browser and supported heavily through interlinking with hyperlinks to other areas in the wiki.  Often, the structure and formatting of the wiki page layout is specified in order to keep the site user friendly and consistent.  Many wikis include a recent changes and summary page, so that users can make comments and explain or question changes they or someone else has made – making it a more collaborate and community tool.

Creating a wiki can be done through open software, both free and paid which are called ‘wiki farms.’  Such software includes PBwiki, Central Desktop, GROU.PS, Socialtext, Wetpaint, and Wikia and Wik.is. Often free versions will include a form of advertising.


Popularity

There are tens of thousands of public wikis available on all manner of subjects.  Undoubtedly the most popular wiki of all is Wikipedia which launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.  By the end of its first year, the site had over 20,000 articles and 18 language variations which grew to 161 languages by 2004. Today, Wikipedia has over 13 million articles globally, and 2.9 million in the English version of the site.

Wikipedia was so successful that it formed the Wikimedia Foundation in 2003, a non-profit organisation that manages several wiki projects including Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikimedia Incubator and Meta-Wiki.  Wikipedia (possibly the most well-known wikis) has come under fire for demonstrating bias and inconsistency, and had its position as an online encyclopaedia challenged by editors of traditional encyclopaedias such as Encyclopaedia Britannica.

There are also wikis dedicated to specific subject areas that are very popular with users, including CookbookWiki, Fitness Wikia, Gamerwiki and Soccerpedia creating more mainstream acceptance of the platform.  In 2007, the word ‘wiki’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.  

The benefits of adding your Wikis to SMP

  • Better communicate your service to your audience
  • Reach brands, marketers and advertisers that are looking to connect with your target audience
  • Connect with potential stakeholders, media and researchers raising the visibility of your wikis
  • Update your stakeholders and target audiences with case studies, events, press releases and/or whitepapers about your wikis
  • Differentiate your approach, products, service and wikis from your competitors
  • Submit news scoops about your app through SMP to be considered for social media news
  • List other assets of what your wikis possesses that relate to the social media Landscape and demonstrate the other relationships that it has
  • Share your expertise through opinion and thought leadership articles published on the SMP site reaching your audiences (from how-to through to creation, development and promotion)

Do you publish a wiki?

Become part of the SMP Landscape by adding your wiki