Monday, April 14, 2008

Thing 10 Wikis

I had such a good time when I was in France this Fall that I thought I'd keep posting some pictures from my trip, as I make my way through the rest of the 23 Things. This one is from Notre Dame, about dusk, in mid-November.

Before I get into Wikis, I just wanted to note that I've taken advantage of some things learned earlier and with the encouragement of my colleagues at the Charles Babbage Institute have installed a Meebo chat window on the home page to our unit. Now anyone can chat with us during regular business hours. The startup was actually quite amazing. Within 5 seconds of going live with chat I had someone asking me a question. I still have no idea how they found us so fast, but I'm guessing (since it was a colleague in another service unit) that as soon as we went live, they received some kind of notice through Meebo to that effect. Anyway, it was pretty cool and a bit scary as all of a sudden I was carrying on two conversations simultaneously. But its calmed down a bit. In any event, I think this will be a new and useful service. I also had some fun re-sizing the window for chat to make it look a little nicer on our page.

As for Wikis, we have a staff wiki at work. I haven't had the chance (or need) to do any editing on a page, but its nice to understand the concept and how well this tool would work in a collaborative process. At the same time, it is interesting to note that wikis do sometimes tend to have problems with vandalism and folks just generally messing about. On at least one of the wikis I visited, you now need e-mail confirmation before you can edit anything on the site.

The 23 Things wiki was really easy to use. I can really see this as a valuable tool for working with folks from other places. One of the questions I have, which I didn't see in any of the intro stuff, is what degree of privacy one might have on a wiki. I'm assuming, if its a web page, that its pretty much out there for folks to see, but I'm not so sure. Something, anyway, to explore and find out. I'm just wondering, for example (and using the video clip from earlier in this Thing) how many people really need to know about all the preparations for a camping trip. There's probably an "invite" function that would allow or limit who sees the wiki.

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