Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What Is A Wiki: Wikis Explained In Simple Words

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I have now been using wikis for over four years, and frankly I couldn't do without them anymore. Their ability to facilitate my frequent needs to create shared workspaces in which I can easily add, edit and upload information and files of all kinds makes them absolutely vital to my highly collaborative workflow.

Photo credit: Lee and Sachi Lefever - CommonCraft Show

Today I'd like to share with you a video that explain in simple words what are wikis and how powerful they could be..."make it possible to organize a great camping trip. Or create the world's biggest encyclopedia."

It's another great work coming out from Lee and Sachi Lefever on the CommonCraft Show: these guys have already explained in very clear way things like RSS, Social Networking and Social Bookmarking, with their unique video style, made up of simple cut-outs and printed messages that appear in front of the camera accompanied by a simple, easy and no-technical-jargon voice-over.

Check it out!


Wikis in Plain English

by Lee Lefever

Wikis in Plain English: English text transcript

Photo credit: Robert Fullerton

These four friends are going on a camping trip. They need to bring the right supplies because they are backpacking.

The group needs to plan and plan well, so coordination is key.

They are all computer users, so they start planning with an email. It starts with one, but then becomes a barrage.

Email is not good at coordinating and organizing a group's input.

This is the old way - Boooo!

The important information is scattered across everyone's inbox.

This isn't coordination!

Let's start over.

There is a better way. It requires using a website called a wiki.

Using a wiki, the group can coordinate their trip better.

This is the new way - Yaay!

Wikis In Action


Most wikis work the same. They make it easy for everyone to change what appears on a webpage with a click of a button. It's as easy as erasing a word and rewriting it.

The buttons are really important. There are two that are essential. They are edit and save, and they are always used together. Let's see them in action.

Here are our camping friends, and this is a wiki website. Like all wikis, it has an "edit button". Clicking this button, transforms the webpage into a document. All you have to do it click it, and...

The webpage becomes a document ready for editing. Editing the page means you can add or remove words or change how they look.

Just like writing a letter. Once you're finished editing, you click save and... the document becomes a webpage once again. And it is ready for the next person to edit it.

Easy! Edit - Write - and Save. Using this process, a group can coordinate more easily.

Wikis As Collaborative Tools


Let's apply this to our camping friends who need to bring the right supplies.

Mary signs up for a wiki site and then sees the new site for the first time. She clicks the "edit button" to get started. She creates two lists for camping. "What we have" and "what we need". Under "we have" she lists the things she will bring. A cooler, stove, and flashlight. Under "we need" she lists items that others need to bring. Compass, lighter, water and food. She finishes the process by clicking save and...the website now has lists for the camping trip.

Now it's John's turn. John visits the wiki website, clicks edit and...the page becomes a document ready for him to make changes. John volunteers to bring food and water, so he moves those to the "have" column. He also realizes the group will need a knife and rope. Once he's finished, he clicks save and... the wiki is ready for the next person.

Henry visits the wiki, clicks edit and...He can edit the page. He remembers they need a tent. Henry saves the page and...

The wiki is ready for Frank. Frank edits the page and agrees to bring the remaining items, completing the process. Frank saves the page and realizes something awesome.

The group has created the perfect camping list - without email!


The Power Of Wikis


But wait! One thing is missing. They need a location for the campsite.

The wiki can help with this too, but another page is needed.

John visits the wiki and clicks edit to edit the page. He types in the word "locations" and highlights it.

He then clicks the link button. This changes the word locations into a link to a new page. John clicks save and...

Next, Frank visits the wiki and sees the lists and the link to the new page. He clicks on the locations link and arrives at the new page.

This new page enables the group to use the same Edit - Write - Save process to coordinate locations.

This process can be repeated over and over.

These three buttons, Edit, Save and Link make it possible to organize a great camping trip. Or create the world's biggest encyclopedia.

You can sign up for your own wiki at these websites. Pbwiki, wetpaint or wikispaces.

Learn, explore and discover what new media social technologies are all about by checking out the CommonCraft Show. Lee and Sachi Lefever are master technology evangelists, bringing new tech and new media to the layman while making the process fun, easy and memorable.

Lee Lefever and Sachi were here in Rome just about a year ago. If you don't know this great pair of guys you can discover a bit more about them by watching these souvenir video they shot as me and my brother Giovanni took them for a motorbike tour of the city.

Lee and Sachi Lefever -
Reference: CommonCraft [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, September 30 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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