Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blogs vs. Wikis

In my first post titled, 'What is New Media' I explained that a blog is usually comprised of a series of news, commentary and diary-like pages arranged in chronological order using a Content Management System, and that the wiki concept is similar to that of a collaborative effort. In this post, I will attempt to compare and contrast both forms. A blog usually has one author, whereas a wiki can have several authors. In blogging culture, once something has been posted it is generally not updated, and if it is updated, the author will usually make mention of it. In the case of a wiki, constant updates are typical and encouraged among users. However for both blogs and wikis, readers are able to leave comments about what they've read. The content in a blog is made up mostly of opinions, whereas a wiki acts as a knowledge source. In the article titled, 'How can we measure the influence of the blogosphere?' Kathy E. Gill states:
"Bloggers write about topics that matter to them; their audience may be large or small."
Speaking of content, this is usually added at a slower pace in the case of a blog when compared with a wiki- probably because the latter has more contributors. Convergence is very important in today's networked world because it units 'Old Media' and 'New Media' in a way that responds effectively to the needs of consumers. For example, perhaps I had a subscription to the printed version of the New York Times, for many years, but in an effort to be more 'green' I would prefer to now receive this newspaper digitally. Here is were convergence becomes important because if the New York Times gives me the option of now receiving this newspaper in a digital format, essentially they would have met my needs.
As such, I would continue to read the New York Times and not feel guilty about killing another tree, or having to switch to another newspaper that offers me the digital format option. This is just an example, as the New York Times does offer its news paper digitally. Yes, blogs can take on a collaborative approach. If this approach is used, there has to be a central blog, which will then be updated by various other bloggers with blogs of their own. These bloggers can add the central blog to their own blogs as a link and highlight it. The plus here is that the central blog would benefit from the multiplier effect, since its content would be exposed to the varied audience of each individual blogger. To answer the question about using wikis in a a way that has never been used before, I'd like to reference an article titled, More on How to Build Your Own Wikipedia, in which Margaret Locher writes:
"Diverse organizations, including businesses, schools and government agencies, are waking up to the benefits of wikis—one of the group of Web-based applications designed to improve information sharing and collaboration known collectively as Web 2.0. By making it easier to gather and share information as well as record discussions about a subject, wikis (familiar as the software behind online encyclopedia Wikipedia) can help people improve their processes and get projects done faster."
I think a great new way to use wikis would be in the newspaper industry, in that it will afford the newspaper to widen its reach if each state, or global region is represented by a select set of reporters. Each reporter will be responsible for uploading content from their state or part of the globe and this information will be arranged in chronological order by state or region. In doing this, the reader will have a wealth of information to choose from, thus giving the newspaper a competitive edge. Featured image sourced from:

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