Chapter 9. The Wisdom of the Wiki

What's In It for You?

The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word for "fast" or "quick," and it alludes to the pace at which wiki content can be created. Wiki sites are also often referred to as "What I Know Is," which came after the original naming. Wikis are web sites that allow people to collect and edit their intelligence in one place at any time. It truly represents the social media foundation of user-generated content and the wisdom of the crowds.

A wiki is a browser-based web platform that lets volunteers contribute information based on their expertise and knowledge, and permits them to edit content within articles on specific subjects. Together, this material creates an encyclopedic-type knowledge base that is founded on the integrity of the contributor's additions. Wikis can either be open to the public or restricted to members or employees. Many companies today are utilizing the wiki to create knowledge management systems for retaining corporate information for collaboration and for training. By incorporating a company wiki, many firms can gather the collective knowledge of their employees on subjects such as policies and procedures, manufacturing and sales, company history, products—and even how to fix the fax machine's paper jams.

As wiki inventor and computer programmer Ward Cunningham puts it, "The wiki concept has become a study in what's now called 'social software.' With a wiki, I write the seed of the idea and I come back in a week ...

Get The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.