Monday, December 11, 2006

Are wikis the next big thing?

One of the web tools that has me intrigued is the wiki. Now most of us are familiar with Wikipedia which was built using a wiki but few people I have spoken with have actually used one. I have been trying to figure out how they work and how to go about building one. I have been reading a blog IwillTeachYouToBeRich and stumbled across an interview by the author who started a wiki website

I took a few minutes to read the introduction and started a wiki. It was not too technically intimidating, but I'm not sure if the average person can easily use it (how would I get my family to plan the family vacation using a wiki when some have difficulty with email?).

On the other hand, I can see how it could be very useful to create collaborative books. For example, suppose you wanted to put all the information about investing in the stock market in one place. Right now people sell lots of books about investing. Could the collective genius of the Internet create a better book using wikis? In fact, a similar effort is underway to collectively write a book on Best Management Practices. Over a million people have been asked to collaborate on the book by the top two business schools.

I've been mulling this idea over since I read about that effort on Management and wondered if I could do something with some other topics. Do you really need to invite millions to be successful? Is anyone aware of other successful wiki projects? Can a wiki make money?

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