Monday, December 19, 2005

Not ready for prime time -- wikipedia

Every once in a while -- I have to remember -- not everyone is online as much as I am. Lots of folks do not know the difference between a wiki and a blog. Likewise, many do not see what the fuss about podcasts and RSS is all about. By and large, these incredible tools still seem to be in the early adopter phase.

Sure, mainstream journalism is talking about this stuff a lot more. Go to any website for a major metro paper and you're likely to find some reference to a blog, feed, or even podcasts. Still doesn't mean the average person gets it, or knows what to do with it.

A prime example of this would be the whole hoopla over Wikipedia and the JFK assasination. To recap briefly, there was a prank done on wikipedia related to the JFK assassination. No one let the person indicted in the prank in on the joke, and they responded with an Op-Ed to the USA Today. Much controversy arose, many wrote about it, even Nature got into the fray.

This whole fuss reminds me of a previous post on wikis. Currently, it seems that wikis are best used in certain circumstances with the right expectations from all users/consumers. The LA Times experiment was a prime example of what can go wrong with a wiki, while Esquire seemed to do all right. Additionally, the whole Seigenthaler issue seems to be one of not really understanding what a wiki is, or can be.

Until a *much* broader segment of the users on the web understand what any of this stuff (wikis, blogs, etc) can do, I would not be surprised if more flare-ups such as this one occur again.

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